Seal of the Governor
For Immediate Release: March 11, 2019
Contacts: Alenaa Yarmosky, | Virginia Employment Commission: Ann Lang,, (804) 786-3177

Governor Northam Announces Virginia’s Unemployment Rate Remains Steady at 2.8%

Virginia has sixth lowest seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in the nation

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was unchanged in January at 2.8 percent—the sixth consecutive month at 2.8 percent. The January 2019 seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for Virginia was down 0.5 percentage point from a year ago and continued to be the lowest rate since the April 2001 rate of 2.8 percent. The labor force, which expanded for the seventh consecutive month, added 7,183 for a total of 4,346,164, and with the usual annual revision of the data, this is the new record high. Household employment increased by 6,090, after a slight decline last month, and at 4,223,594, also set a new record high. The number of unemployed increased by 1,093 to 122,570, the third consecutive monthly increase. Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continues to be below the national rate, which was up 0.1 percentage point in January to 4.0 percent.

“I am pleased to see the Commonwealth’s record low unemployment rate hold steady for the sixth consecutive month, a clear indication that our efforts to expand and diversify Virginia’s economy are working,” said Governor Northam. “We must continue this momentum by focusing on developing a world-class workforce, attracting new jobs and investment to every corner of the Commonwealth, and creating opportunity—so all Virginians are able to participate in our economic 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. Virginia is ranked sixth in the nation for the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate along with Idaho and Nebraska. 

“Virginia’s economy remains strong, and the unemployment rate remaining steady at 2.8 percent is a testament to that,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “We’re looking forward to working with both our existing businesses and companies outside of the Commonwealth to create more quality job opportunities in every region of Virginia in 2019.”

“Virginia’s sustained low unemployment rate throughout the first year of Governor Northam’s administration is a testament to his leadership and dedication to workforce development in the Commonwealth,” said Chief Workforce Development Advisor Megan Healy. “Not only is our unemployment rate on the right track, but as workers gain skills and confidence through Virginia’s quality training programs and enter the workforce, our labor pool grows. We are encouraged by this progress, but we still have work to do. We will continue our mission to help define and match every Virginian with a thoughtful career pathway to a reliable, well-paying job.”

Virginia’s nonfarm payroll employment is 44,100 jobs higher when compared to January of 2018. Over-the-year employment growth in Virginia has been positive for 58 consecutive months. Virginia’s over-the-year growth rate of 1.1 percent in January brought growth back above 1.0 percent and exceeded last month’s revised over-the-year growth of 0.8 percent. Nationally, over-the-year growth was 1.9 percent in January.  

In January, the private sector recorded an over-the-year gain of 39,800 jobs, while employment in the public sector increased by 4,300 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

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