Seal of the Governor
For Immediate Release: March 12, 2018
Contacts: Alenaa Yarmosky, | Virginia Employment Commission: Ann Lang, (804) 786-3177,

Governor Northam Announces Virginia’s Unemployment Rate Unchanged at 3.6%

Virginia’s unemployment rate ranks second lowest among Southeast states

RICHMOND – Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained unchanged again in January at 3.6 percent, but was down 0.4 percentage point from a year ago. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has remained steady at 3.6 percent for five consecutive months—the lowest rate since the 3.5 percent rate in April 2008 and 3.9 percentage points below the peak rate of 7.5 percent in February 2010. Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continues to be below the national rate, which was unchanged again in January at 4.1 percent.

“This unemployment announcement underscores that our efforts to strengthen the Commonwealth’s economy are working,” said Governor Northam. “With recent economic development announcements in Pittsylvania, Lee, and Fairfax Counties, we continue to bring in more 21st century jobs and highlight Virginia’s strong workforce and pro-business climate. My administration will continue to work to create new opportunities for families in every corner of Virginia.”

Virginia has the second lowest seasonally adjusted unemployment rate among the Southeast states behind Tennessee, which has a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 3.3 percent. Virginia has the eighth best rate among the states east of the Mississippi.

“I am pleased to see that the Commonwealth’s economy is thriving under Governor Northam’s leadership,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Esther Lee. “Today’s announcement is a testament to the pro-business climate and world-class workforce we have built. We must continue to strengthen our economy by working together to attract new jobs and investment to Virginia.”

Virginia’s nonfarm payroll employment is 19,900 jobs higher when compared to January of 2017. Over-the-year employment growth in Virginia has been positive for 46 consecutive months. In January, Virginia’s over-the-year growth was 0.5 percent. Nationally, total nonfarm employment was up 1.5 percent from a year ago.  

In January, the private sector recorded an over-the-year gain of 21,300 jobs, while the public sector recorded an over-the-year loss of 1,400 jobs.Compared to a year ago, on a seasonally adjusted basis, eight of the eleven major industry divisions experienced employment gains, while the other three experienced employment losses.

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

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