Seal of the Governor
For Immediate Release: April 20, 2018
Contacts: Alenaa Yarmosky, | Virginia Employment Commission Contact: Ann Lang, (804) 786-3177,

Governor Northam Announces Virginia’s Unemployment Rate Drops to 3.4%

Virginia’s unemployment rate ranks lowest among Southeast states; Lowest rate in nearly 10 years

RICHMOND – Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was down 0.1 percentage point in March to 3.4 percent and was down 0.5 percentage point from a year ago.  March’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 3.4 percent is the lowest rate since the March 2008 rate of 3.4 percent. In March, the labor force expanded by 4,547, which was the second consecutive monthly increase, and at 4,325,379, set a new record high. Household employment increased by 7,249, which was the third consecutive monthly increase, and at 4,178,357, also set a new record high. The number of unemployed continued to drop, declining 2,702 to 147,022. Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continues to be below the national rate, which was unchanged again in March at 4.1 percent.

“Today’s unemployment announcement is positive news for businesses and families across the Commonwealth. While we continue to make great strides in building the economy Virginians deserve, now is not the time to let up,” said Governor Northam. “My administration is focused on increasing economic opportunity for people in every corner of Virginia, and that is why I remain committed to working with the General Assembly to pass a budget that expands Medicaid and invests in key fundamentals like education so every Virginian has the opportunity to build healthy, productive lives here in our Commonwealth.”

Virginia and Tennessee have the lowest seasonally adjusted unemployment rate among the Southeast states. Virginia, along with Tennessee, has the sixth best rate among the states east of the Mississippi. Virginia, along with Kansas, South Dakota, and Tennessee, has the fourteenth lowest unemployment rate in the nation.

“Today’s announcement reaffirms that the Commonwealth is trending in the right direction,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “We will continue to do everything we can to continue bringing more jobs and investment to Virginia.”

“The declining unemployment rate is a key indication that Virginia’s workforce is strong and our economy is thriving,” said Chief Workforce Development Advisor Megan Healy. “It remains critical that we concentrate our efforts to ensure Virginians not only have jobs, but the skills and training they need to compete for 21st-century careers.”

Virginia’s nonfarm payroll employment is 39,500 jobs higher when compared to March of 2017. Over-the-year employment growth in Virginia has been positive for 48 consecutive months. In March, Virginia’s over-the-year growth was 1.0 percent, which was stronger than the over-the-year growth the previous seven months. Nationally, total nonfarm employment was up 1.5 percent from a year ago.   

In March, the private sector recorded an over-the-year gain of 39,500 jobs, while employment in the public sector remained unchanged. Compared to a year ago, on a seasonally adjusted basis, nine of the eleven major industry divisions experienced employment gains, one experienced an employment loss, and total government employment remained unchanged.

For a greater statistical breakdown visit the Virginia Employment Commission’s website at  


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