Seal of the Governor
For Immediate Release: September 21, 2018
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Ofirah Yheskel, | Virginia Employment Commission: Ann Lang,, (804) 786-3177

Governor Northam Announces Commonwealth’s Unemployment Rate Falls to 3.0%

Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate lowest among Southeast states; Lowest rate in over 10 years

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased by 0.1 percentage point in August to 3.0 percent and was down 0.7 percentage point from a year ago. August’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 3.0 percent is the lowest rate since the July 2007 rate of 3.0 percent. The labor force continued to expand in August; however, the increase was by only a slight 75, bringing the labor force to a new record high of 4,356,189. Household employment increased by 3,284, which was the eighth consecutive monthly increase, and at 4,226,073, also set a new record high. The number of unemployed continued to drop, declining by 3,209 to 130,116. Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continues to be below the national rate, which was unchanged at 3.9 percent.

“The Commonwealth’s economy continues to grow as more Virginians join the workforce and more companies choose us for investment,” said Governor Northam. “As the unemployment rate declines, we are remaining laser-focused on bringing quality, well-paying jobs to every corner of Virginia and ensuring our workforce has the 21st-century, in-demand skills employers are seeking.”

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 along with Wisconsin. Virginia is ranked tenth in the nation for the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate along with South Dakota and Wisconsin.

“The sustained drop in Virginia’s unemployment rate is great news for the Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “We will continue working diligently to bring investment and create wage-sustaining jobs in all regions for all Virginians.”

“Virginia’s tightening labor market speaks to the quality of our workforce and the strength of our business community,” said Chief Workforce Development Advisor Megan Healy. “With more opportunities opening up every day, it’s a great time to be a jobseeker in the Commonwealth. The Virginia Career Works system stands ready to assist our residents on their path to gainful employment.”

Virginia’s nonfarm payroll employment is 54,800 jobs higher when compared to August of 2017. Over-the-year employment growth in Virginia has been positive for 53 consecutive months and has exceeded 1.0 percent the past five months. Nationally, total nonfarm employment was up 1.6 percent from a year ago.  

In August, the private sector recorded an over-the-year gain of 68,200 jobs, while employment in the public sector declined by 13,400 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

# # #