Seal of the Governor
For Immediate Release: August 16, 2019
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Alena Yarmosky, Alena.Yarmosky@governor.virginia.gov | Virginia Employment Commission: Conrad Buckler, Conrad.Buckler@vec.virginia.gov, (804) 786-8264

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

Household employment increases and labor force expands to set new record highs

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate held steady in July at 2.9 percent, which equals the rate from a year ago. In July, the labor force expanded for the thirteenth consecutive month by 12,345, or 0.1 percent to set a new record high of 4,389,783, as the number of unemployed decreased by 1,767. Household employment increased by 14,112 to set a new high of 4,263,623. Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continues to be below the national rate, which was unchanged at 3.7 percent.

“I am proud that we have been able to expand and diversify Virginia’s economy and make targeted investments that strengthen our public education, infrastructure, and workforce development systems,” said Governor Northam. “While I am pleased to see these efforts reflected in our low unemployment rate and growing labor force, we know that there is still work to be done to ensure that every hardworking Virginian has access to economic opportunity, no matter who they are or where they are from. My administration will stay focused on connecting job seekers with the skills and training that employers are looking for, helping Virginia businesses grow and compete, and recruiting private sector investment to every corner 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 along with Massachusetts. Virginia is ranked fifth in the nation for the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate along with Colorado, Idaho, Massachusetts, and South Dakota. 

“This administration is working tirelessly to create quality jobs in every part of the Commonwealth, and an unemployment rate at 2.9 percent is a signal that our efforts are working,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “We are optimistic that we will have more positive economic development announcements in the near future.”

Over-the-year employment growth in Virginia has been positive for 64 consecutive months. For July, Virginia’s over-the-year growth of 0.6 percent was less than the national rate. Nationally, over-the-year growth was relatively unchanged in July at 1.5 percent.

“The low unemployment rate is evidence our growing economy is creating good jobs in communities across the Commonwealth,” said Chief Workforce Development Advisor Megan Healy. “Even as we celebrate this success, we remain committed to ensuring every worker has the skills and resources they need to take advantage of these opportunities.”

In July, the private sector recorded an over-the-year gain of 29,600 jobs, while employment in the public sector decreased by 6,600 jobs. Compared to a year ago, on a seasonally adjusted basis, eight of the eleven major industry divisions experienced employment gains, while the other three experienced employment losses.

For a greater statistical breakdown visit the Virginia Employment Commission’s website at www.vec.virginia.gov.  

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