Virginia Unemployment Rate Falls to 3-year Low

March 13, 2012

Virginia's unemployment rate fell to a three-year low in January, despite job declines across a majority of the state's industries in the last month.

The Virginia Employment Commission said Tuesday the state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in January was 5.8 percent. That's down from 6.2 percent in December and 6.4 percent in January 2011.

The rate had been decreasing since peaking at 7.3 percent in December 2010, but had risen slightly from July through September last year.

Virginia's rate is below the national average, which dropped to 8.3 percent in January.

The Labor Department said unemployment rates fell in 45 states and the District of Columbia. One state saw its rate increase and four states had no rate changes.

Virginia's unadjusted unemployment rate, which is not adjusted for seasonal employment changes, rose to 6 percent in January. That's slightly above the December 2011 rate, but nearly 1 percentage point lower than a year ago.

Officials said nonfarm employment decreased by 64,500 jobs in January but was still 1.3 percent above a year ago.

Decreases were seen in trade and transportation, total government, professional and business services, leisure and hospitality and private education and health services. Manufacturing, construction, mining, finance and miscellaneous services, and the information sector also experienced job losses.

The state agency said 63,508 Virginians were receiving regular unemployment benefits in January. That's up from 54,434 in December but down from 81,851 in January 2010.

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