Seal of the Governor
For Immediate Release: April 19, 2019
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Alenaa Yarmosky, | Virginia Employment Commission: Conrad Buckler,, (804) 786-8264

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

Commonwealth has lowest seasonally adjusted unemployment rate among Southeast states

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate held steady in March at 2.9 percent. The March 2019 seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for Virginia was down 0.3 percentage point from a year ago. In March, the labor force expanded for the ninth consecutive month by 5,379, or 0.1 percent to set a new record high of 4,360,317, as the number of unemployed increased by 2,089. Household employment increased by 3,290 to set a new high of 4,233,641. Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continues to be below the national rate, which was unchanged at 3.8 percent.

“I am pleased to see both the continued expansion of Virginia’s labor force and unemployment rate that remains below three percent, underscoring the strength and diversity of our economy,” said Governor Northam. “It is more important now than ever that we work to fuel this progress by making smart investments in key priorities like education, health care, and infrastructure, expanding workforce development programs, and attracting new high-growth industries, to ensure that Virginians in every corner of our Commonwealth have opportunities to thrive and contribute to our success.”

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 eighth in the nation for the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate along with Idaho and Wisconsin. 

“We are very encouraged by the steady growth in Virginia’s labor force as well as our five-year over-the-year employment growth,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “Governor Northam has made economic development a top priority, and the numbers speak for themselves.”

Virginia’s nonfarm payroll employment is up 35,500 jobs, or 0.9 percent. Over-the-year employment growth in Virginia has been positive for 60 consecutive months and has continued to strengthen over the last several months. For March, Virginia’s over-the-year growth of 0.9 percent was slightly less than the national rate. Nationally, over-the-year growth continued to slow in March to 1.0 percent from 1.7 percent in February and 1.9 percent in January.

“No matter who they are or where they live, every Virginian deserves an economy that works for their family,” said Chief Workforce Development Advisor Megan Healy. “Our historically low unemployment rate and expanding labor force show people are more confident than ever about their employment prospects, but many excellent jobs are still unfilled. We remain committed to connecting both job seekers and employers to the resources they need to be successful now and in the future.”

In March, the private sector recorded an over-the-year gain of 32,200 jobs and employment in the public sector increased by 3,300 jobs. Compared to a year ago, on a seasonally adjusted basis, seven of the eleven major industry divisions experienced employment gains, while the other four experienced employment losses.

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

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