Seal of the Governor
For Immediate Release: October 19, 2018
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Ofirah Yheskel, | Virginia Employment Commission: Conrad Buckler,, (804) 786-8264

Governor Northam Announces Virginia’s Unemployment Rate Drops to 2.9%

Over-the-year job growth positive for 54 consecutive months; Commonwealth continues to post lowest seasonally adjusted unemployment rate among Southeast states

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased by 0.1 percentage point in September to 2.9 percent, which is the third consecutive monthly decline. The September 2018 seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for Virginia was down 0.7 percentage point from a year ago and is the lowest rate since the June 2007 rate of 2.9 percent. In September, the labor force contracted by 3,574, or -0.1 percent, as the number of unemployed dropped by 3,482 and household employment fell by a slight 92. Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continues to be below the national rate, which was down by 0.2 percentage point to 3.7 percent.

“I’m pleased to see the unemployment rate decrease for a third consecutive month, a key indication that Virginia’s economy is strengthening and the work we’re doing to attract new business and investment is paying off,” said Governor Northam. “But even as we add jobs and see record-low unemployment in the Commonwealth, we must also concentrate on enhancing our workforce development system and building the necessary infrastructure to sustain this growth long-term. Today’s announcement is excellent news for our Commonwealth, and I look forward to continuing this progress so we can ensure economic opportunity exists for all Virginians, no matter who they are or where they live.”

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 eighth in the nation for the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate along with Vermont.

“This administration is working tirelessly to create quality jobs across the Commonwealth, and driving down the unemployment rate is an important sign that our efforts are working,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “We will continue building and diversifying our economy so all Virginians have access to good careers.”

“At 2.9 percent, Virginia’s low unemployment rate speaks to the strength of our workforce and economy,” said Chief Workforce Development Advisor Megan Healy. “The statistics show our sustained commitment to in-demand skill development is getting real results.”

Virginia’s nonfarm payroll employment is 68,400 jobs higher when compared to September of 2017. Over-the-year employment growth in Virginia has been positive for 54 consecutive months and has continued to strengthen over the last several months. For September, Virginia’s over-the-year growth of 1.7 percent was the same as the national rate.  

In September, the private sector recorded an over-the-year gain of 85,500 jobs, while employment in the public sector declined by 17,100 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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