Seal of the Governor
For Immediate Release: August 17, 2018
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Ofirah Yheskel, | Virginia Employment Commission: Conrad Buckler, (804) 786-8264,

Governor Northam Announces Virginia’s Unemployment Drops to Lowest Rate Since 2007

Unemployment rate down to 3.1%; Labor force expansion sets another record high

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased in July to 3.1 percent and was down 0.6 percentage point from a year ago. July’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate, of 3.1 percent, is the lowest rate since the August 2007 rate of 3.1 percent. In July, the labor force expanded by 7,790, which was the sixth consecutive monthly increase, and at 4,356,623, set a new record high. Household employment increased by 12,146, which was the seventh consecutive monthly increase, and at 4,223,275, also set a new record high. The number of unemployed continued to drop, declining by 4,356 to 133,348. Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continues to be below the national rate, which was down 0.1 percentage point in July to 3.9 percent.

“Virginia’s unemployment rate is at its lowest level in over a decade, and this administration is working hard to keep that number going down,” said Governor Northam. “As governor, it is my mission to build economic opportunity for all Virginians, no matter who you are or where you live. That’s why I remain focused on making sure we prepare our citizens for the jobs of the 21st century, provide tax relief for hardworking Virginians, and expand access to early childhood education so every child has the opportunity to reach his or her potential.”

Virginia has the lowest seasonally adjusted unemployment rate among the Southeast states. Virginia has the fifth best rate among the states east of the Mississippi. Virginia is ranked twelfth in the nation for the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate along with South Dakota and Utah.  

“We are thrilled to see this record-low unemployment rate, and will continue our efforts to create 21st-century jobs for all Virginians,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “This is a significant milestone for the Commonwealth and a strong testament to our skilled workforce and competitive business climate.”

“The continued decline in our unemployment rate shows that the Commonwealth’s investments in workforce development are paying off,” said Chief Workforce Development Advisor Megan Healy. “Behind the numbers are many stories of individual Virginians finding good jobs and getting ahead.”

Virginia’s nonfarm payroll employment is 62,600 jobs higher when compared to July of 2017. Over-the-year employment growth in Virginia has been positive for 52 consecutive months and has exceeded 1.0 percent the past four months. Nationally, total nonfarm employment was up 1.6 percent from a year ago.   

In July, the private sector recorded an over-the-year gain of 65,500 jobs, while employment in the public sector declined by 2,900 jobs. Compared to a year ago, on a seasonally adjusted basis, nine of the eleven major industry divisions experienced employment gains, while the other two experienced employment losses.

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

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