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Seal of the Governor
For Immediate Release: May 18, 2018
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Alena Yarmosky, | Virginia Employment Commission: Timothy Kestner, (804) 786-7496,

Governor Northam Announces Virginia’s Unemployment Drops to Lowest Rate in Over a Decade

Unemployment rate down to 3.3%; Labor force expansion reaches record high

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was down 0.1 percentage point in April to 3.3 percent and was down 0.5 percentage point from a year ago. April’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 3.3 percent is the lowest rate since the December 2007 rate of 3.3 percent. In April, the labor force expanded by 5,735, which was the third consecutive monthly increase, and at 4,331,079, set a new record high. Household employment increased by 8,738, which was the fourth consecutive monthly increase, and at 4,187,088, also set a new record high. The number of unemployed continued to drop, declining 3,003 to 143,991. Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continues to be below the national rate, which was down 0.2 percentage point in April to 3.9 percent.

“The continued decline we are seeing in Virginia’s unemployment rate is a clear sign that the work we are doing to grow and diversify our economy is paying off,” said Governor Northam. “We must make every effort to maintain this momentum by investing in economic fundamentals like health care, education and workforce development. I am optimistic that we can work with the General Assembly to pass a budget that expands Medicaid and creates more opportunities for Virginians across the Commonwealth to thrive in their communities.”

Virginia has the lowest seasonally adjusted unemployment rate among the Southeast states. Virginia, has the sixth best rate among the states east of the Mississippi. Virginia remains ranked fourteenth in the nation for seasonally adjusted unemployment rate.

“Today’s announcement reaffirms that our Commonwealth is trending in a positive direction,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “We must continue to do everything in our power to attract new businesses to Virginia and to help existing businesses grow in every corner of the Commonwealth.”

“Virginia’s low unemployment rate is a testament to our world-class workforce and dynamic economy,” said Chief Workforce Development Advisor Megan Healy. “Whether you are a new startup, an expanding business, or a prospective employee looking for the next big step in your career, the Commonwealth is truly the land of opportunity.”

Virginia’s nonfarm payroll employment is 46,300 jobs higher when compared to April of 2017. Over-the-year employment growth in Virginia has been positive for 49 consecutive months, and over the last several months, growth has continued to strengthen. Nationally, total nonfarm employment was up 1.6 percent from a year ago.  

In April, the private sector recorded an over-the-year gain of 47,700 jobs, while employment in the public sector declined by 1,400 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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