Seal of the Governor
For Immediate Release: November 16, 2018
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Ofirah Yheskel, | Virginia Employment Commission: Conrad Buckler,, (804) 786-8264

Governor Northam Announces Virginia’s Unemployment Rate Unchanged at 2.9%

Virginia’s unemployment rate ranks lowest among Southeast states; Commonwealth posts 55 consecutive months of over-the-year employment growth

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate held steady in October at 2.9 percent. The October 2018 seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for Virginia was down 0.7 percentage point from a year ago and continued to be the lowest rate since the June 2007 rate of 2.9 percent. In October, the labor force expanded by 494, as the number of unemployed dropped by 1,679 and household employment increased by 2,173. Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continues to be below the national rate, which was unchanged at 3.7 percent.

“Today’s announcement is a clear sign that the work we are doing to increase Virginia’s economic competitiveness is paying off, and I am pleased to see our historically low unemployment rate hold steady,” said Governor Northam. “With the recent announcement that Amazon will locate a significant new headquarters in Virginia, we will continue to further diversify our economy, boost critical investments in education, and enhance our transportation infrastructure—all of which will help drive growth in every part of the Commonwealth.”

Virginia has the lowest seasonally adjusted unemployment rate among the Southeast states. Virginia has the third best rate among the states east of the Mississippi. Virginia is ranked ninth in the nation for the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate. 

“We are very proud that Virginia continues to have one of the country’s lowest unemployment rates, but we will remain steadfast in our efforts to continue creating quality, wage-sustaining jobs across every part of the Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball.

“The low unemployment rate is an indicator of a thriving economy where Virginians are working,” said Chief Workforce Development Advisor Megan Healy. “Even though we celebrate these great numbers, there is still work to be done by filling our current vacancies and finding successful, career pathways for all Virginians.”

Virginia’s nonfarm payroll employment is 71,400 jobs higher when compared to October of 2017. Over-the-year employment growth in Virginia has been positive for 55 consecutive months and has continued to strengthen over the last several months. For October, Virginia’s over-the-year growth of 1.8 percent was the same as the national rate.   

In October, the private sector recorded an over-the-year gain of 90,200 jobs, while employment in the public sector declined by 18,800 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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