Seal of the Governor
For Immediate Release: June 21, 2019
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Alenaa Yarmosky, | Virginia Employment Commission: Conrad Buckler,, (804) 786-8264

Governor Northam Announces Virginia’s Unemployment Rate at 3.0%

Commonwealth has lowest seasonally adjusted unemployment rate among Southeast states

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased 0.1 percentage point in May to 3.0 percent, which equals the rate from a year ago. In May, the labor force expanded for the eleventh consecutive month by 5,817, or 0.1 percent to set a new record high of 4,368,510, as the number of unemployed increased by 1,748. Household employment increased by 4,069 to set a new high of 4,239,506. Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continues to be below the national rate, which was unchanged at 3.6 percent.

“Virginia’s growing and highly-skilled labor force continues to show the world that businesses can count on the Commonwealth’s robust talent pipeline to support their needs,” said Governor Northam. “However, even with a consistently low unemployment rate, we must remain focused on ensuring that every Virginian has the opportunity to participate in the Commonwealth’s economic progress. That’s why my administration working to maintain a competitive business environment and prioritizing investments in healthcare, education, and workforce development.”

Virginia has the lowest seasonally adjusted unemployment rate among the Southeast states. Virginia has the fourth best rate among the states east of the Mississippi along with Massachusetts. Virginia is ranked sixth in the nation for the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate along with Massachusetts and Nebraska.

“Virginia’s unemployment rate continues to be below the national rate, and a record-high number of workers in the labor force is a significant milestone,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “We just returned from a productive trade mission overseas, and this administration will continue to focus on economic development for every corner of the Commonwealth.”

Over-the-year employment growth in Virginia has been positive for 62 consecutive months. For May, Virginia’s over-the-year growth of 0.8 percent was less than the national rate. Nationally, over-the-year growth was slightly lower in May at 1.6 percent from 1.7 percent in April and March.

“Virginia’s record high labor force participation rate means that Virginians are more optimistic than ever about their job prospects,” said Chief Workforce Development Advisor Megan Healy. “Our continually growing economy and strong workforce system make Virginia an ideal place to live, work, and do business.”

In May, the private sector recorded an over-the-year gain of 30,800 jobs, while employment in the public sector increased as well by 1,200 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

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