For Release: Contacts:
December 30, 2009 William F. Mezger, Chief Economist Economic Information Services Division (804) 786-5669 or (804) 786-7496 Ann D. Lang, Senior Economist Economic Information Services Division (804) 786-3177 or (804) 786-7496
November Unemployment Holding Steady at 6.4 Percent
—The seasonally adjusted rate remained at 6.6 percent in November for the 4th consecutive month— —Virginia’s unemployment rates continue to remain substantially below the national rates—
RICHMOND—Virginia’s actual jobless rate was 6.4 percent for both November and the revised October level. The seasonally adjusted rate remained at 6.6 percent for the fourth consecutive month. The number of jobless workers was unchanged, remaining at 263,100 for both October and November. November normally sees job seekers for holiday employment. This November, the fact that unemployment was unchanged indicated holiday job seekers were being hired, so that the merchants could have them on board by the big “Black Friday” sales day. The Virginia civilian labor force also remained basically flat, increasing by 100 from 4,124,600 in October to 4,124,700 in November. Virginia’s unemployment rate has been declining since June, when the actual rate peaked at 7.3 percent and the seasonally adjusted rate peaked at 7.1 percent. Virginia’s unemployment rates continue to remain substantially below the national rates. Virginia’s actual rate of 6.4 percent in November was 3.0 percentage points below the national actual rate of 9.4 percent. The November seasonally adjusted rate of 6.6 percent for Virginia was 3.4 percentage points below the national seasonally adjusted rate of 10.0 percent. The November Virginia actual rate of 6.4 percent was above the November 2008 level of 4.6 percent. The seasonally adjusted state November rate of 6.6 percent was also above the year ago November level of 4.6 percent. However, Virginia’s seasonally adjusted rate of 6.6 percent gave it the eighth-best ranking among all the states. (Only seasonally adjusted jobless rates are used for the state rankings.) The seven small states with lower seasonal rates than Virginia were: North Dakota (4.1 percent), Nebraska (4.5 percent), South Dakota (5.0 percent), Kansas (6.3 percent), Utah (6.3 percent), Montana (6.4 percent) and Vermont (6.4 percent). The next lowest large state was Texas with 8.0 percent seasonally adjusted unemployment. Texas was ranked twentieth among all the states.
VRC/TDD 1 (800) 828-1120 Equal Opportunity Employer/Program
-2The state’s ten metropolitan areas presented a mixed picture in November. Unemployment in Northern Virginia, Blacksburg, and Charlottesville was down from October to November. As usual Northern Virginia still had the lowest jobless rate of all ten metro areas, with unemployment down from 4.8 percent in October to 4.7 percent in November. Like the state, unemployment rates in Virginia Beach and Harrisonburg remained the same from October to November. Danville, Lynchburg, Richmond, Roanoke, and Winchester experienced higher unemployment because of holiday job seekers and layoffs around the Thanksgiving holiday. The Danville area, where unemployment increased from 11.2 percent in October to 11.4 percent in November, was still the highest Virginia metro area. Among Virginia’s 134 individual jurisdictions in November 2009, Arlington County, at 3.8 percent, had the lowest jobless rate. In addition to Arlington County, eight other jurisdictions—Fairfax County, Loudoun County, Alexandria city, Albemarle County, James City County, York County, Mathews County, and Stafford County—had unemployment rates at, or below, the 5.0 percent level considered to be “full employment.” Martinsville city, at 20.0 percent unemployment, was the highest. There were 20 Virginia jurisdictions, mostly along the North Carolina border, with double-digit unemployment in November 2009.
(Not Seasonally Adjusted) November 2009 Number United States Virginia BlacksburgChristiansburg-Radford Charlottesville Danville Harrisonburg Lynchburg Northern Virginia Richmond Roanoke Virginia Beach-NorfolkNewport News, Virginia/North Carolina Winchester, Virginia/West Virginia * Current month’s estimates are preliminary. (more) 14,407,000 263,100 5,900 5,420 5,910 3,630 8,450 68,130 48,410 11,140 Rate 9.4 6.4 7.2 5.1 11.4 5.5 6.7 4.7 7.5 7.1 October 2009 Number 14,547,000 263,100 6,100 5,600 5,810 3,600 8,430 69,460 47,770 11,030 Rate 9.5 6.4 7.4 5.3 11.2 5.5 6.6 4.8 7.4 7.0 November 2008 Number 10,015,000 188,900 4,470 3,940 6,040 2,700 5,740 49,720 32,050 7,130 Rate 6.5 4.6 5.5 3.7 11.2 4.1 4.6 3.4 5.0 4.5
-3The number of Virginia residents drawing unemployment benefits in November 2009 was 80,000, the same as in October, but up from 57,000 in November 2008. Initial claims for benefits averaged 8,100 per week in November, up from the 7,500 per week in October, but below the 8,900 per week in November 2008. Cumulative initial claims for November 2009 total 36,017, compared to 32,427 in October 2009 and 36,903 in November 2008. Nonagricultural wage and salary payroll employment rose by 3,700 jobs in November to a level of 3,674,300. Trade and transportation added 8,300 jobs in November to a total of 642,400, as merchants hired extra holiday workers. Total government increased 5,400 for November employment of 715,900, and education and health services increased 3,900 for November employment of 458,100. Public and private schools and colleges, still staffing for the fall semester, added 4,800 jobs to local government and 600 jobs to educational services and private colleges. Local government employment was also boosted by election workers added to November payrolls. Mine employment was unchanged from October to November at 11,100. The biggest decrease was 9,300 jobs in leisure and hospitality to a level of 333,000, as resorts curtailed staff after the fall foliage travel season. The financial activities employment level of 186,300 was down 1,200 jobs this month, reflecting employment losses in real estate grounds maintenance. Declines also occurred in miscellaneous services, down 900 jobs to 179,900; professional and business services, down 700 jobs to 637,900; information, down 700 jobs to 78,700; construction, down 600 jobs to 194,900; and manufacturing, down 500 jobs to 236,100. Virginia’s 183,000 manufacturing production workers earned an average weekly wage of $835.02 this November, which was down $27.67 from the October weekly wage, but was $107.01 higher than the November 2008 weekly wage. The production workweek, at 43.4 hours, was an hour shorter than in October, but was 3 hours longer than last November. The hourly factory pay rate fell $.19 in November to $19.24, but was $1.22 above November 2008. Normally Virginia sees its best unemployment rates in the last quarter of the year. During the holiday season extra jobs are created in retail trade, transportation, and food service. November is normally the month when people are out seeking holiday employment, but this year, the actual unemployment rate remained flat between October and November, with employment and unemployment levels also essentially flat. December’s jobless rate may be as good as, or better than, November’s level. The statistical reference week this month was the week of November 8-14, 2009.