N.Va. unemployment, May 2021

[Sun Gazette Newspapers provides content to, but otherwise is unaffiliated with, InsideNoVa or Rappahannock Media LLC.]

Like much of Northern Virginia, Fairfax County’s jobless rate has improved substantially from the depths of the COVID crisis a year before, but now seems struck in neutral as it attempts to return to pre-pandemic lows.

With a total of 594,803 county residents employed in the civilian workforce and 22,702 looking for jobs, Fairfax’s jobless rate of 3.7 percent in May was up a tick from 3.6 a month before, according to figures reported June 30 by the Virginia Employment Commission.

The jobless rate was, however, a significant improvement from a year before, as the impact of government-imposed economic lockdowns was beginning to take hold. Fairfax County’s jobless rate in May 2020 stood at 8.1 percent, according to state officials.

Most localities across Northern Virginia were in the same boat as Fairfax, with their jobless rates much better than a year before but still struggling to get back to pre-pandemic levels.

Jobless rates for the month stood at 2.8 percent in Falls Church, up from 2.6 percent a month before; 3.1 percent in Arlington, unchanged; 3.3 percent in Loudoun County, up from 3.1 percent; 3.9 percent in Alexandria, down from 4 percent; and 4.2 percent in Prince William County, up from 4.1 percent.

For Northern Virginia as a whole, the jobless rate of 3.7 percent in May was up from 3.5 percent in April, representing 1.56 million residents employed in the civilian workforce and 59,300 looking for jobs.

Among Virginia’s 134 cities and counties, the lowest joblessness was found in Madison County, at 2.5 percent, followed by Falls Church and then a tie at 2.9 percent between King George and Rappahannock counties. The highest rates were found in Petersburg (10.6 percent), Martinsville and Hopewell (7.8 percent each), and Emporia (7.7 percent).

Virginia’s statewide, non-seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate of 4.1 percent in May was down from 3.9 percent in April, but kept Virginia well below than the national average of 5.5 percent.

Among the 50 states, the lowest jobless rates for the month were recorded in New Hampshire (2.5 percent) and Nebraska and Vermont (2.6 percent each). The highest rates were found in Hawaii (8.1 percent), New Mexico (8 percent) and California (7.9 percent).

Over the past year, Virginia has gained back about 255,000 jobs lost in the early part of the pandemic, up about 7 percent in total jobs. Nationally, Nevada has seen the biggest rebound (up 19.2 percent in employment since May 2020), followed by Michigan (up 16.8 percent) and Rhode Island (13 percent). In raw numbers, the biggest rebound in jobs was found in California (up 1.22 million from the depths of COVID), New York (882,500) and Texas (804,200).

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