Seal of the Governor
For Immediate Release: December 20, 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 Continues at 2.6%

Labor force expands for seventeenth consecutive month, seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remains lowest in the Southeast

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Virginia’s record low unemployment held steady and employment levels continued to rise in November.

Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continued at 2.6 percent in November, which is 0.2 percentage point below the rate from a year ago. According to household survey data in November, the labor force expanded for the seventeenth consecutive month by 13,326, or 0.3 percent to set a new record high of 4,441,018, as the number of unemployed decreased by 521. Household employment increased by 13,847 to set a new high of 4,324,922. Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continues to be below the national rate, which decreased 0.1 percentage point to 3.5 percent.

“I am encouraged to see our unemployment rate remain low,” said Governor Northam. “We need to invest in Virginia’s workforce to maintain this momentum. I look forward to working with legislators to pass a budget that makes historic investments in our community colleges, early childhood education system, and K-12 schools.”

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 New Hampshire. Virginia is ranked fourth in the nation for the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate along with Colorado, Hawaii, Iowa, and New Hampshire.

“From day one, the Governor made a strong commitment to make sure every Virginian has access to a good job, no matter where they live,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “Every region of Virginia is experiencing a lower unemployment rate than a year ago, and we’re proud that our talented workforce is participating in our strong economy at such high rates.”

Over-the-year employment growth in Virginia has been positive for 68 consecutive months. For November, Virginia’s over-the-year growth of 1.0 percent was slightly less than the national rate. Nationally, over-the-year growth was relatively steady in November at 1.1 percent.

“With our robust economy, more Virginians are working to help grow and support our businesses,” said Chief Workforce Development Advisor Megan Healy. “Virginia’s highly-skilled workforce is the economic driver in all communities across the Commonwealth.”

In November, the private sector recorded an over-the-year gain of 47,400 jobs, while employment in the public sector decreased by 7,300 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 vec.virginia.gov.

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