Seal of the Governor
For Immediate Release: January 24, 2023
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Christian Martinez,

Hiring Up, More Virginians Looking for Employment, December Jobs Report Shows

Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin today announced the number of employed residents rose by 4,485 to 4,228,407 in December 2022. According to BLS Local Area Unemployment Statistics (“LAUS”, or “the household survey”), the labor force in Virginia increased by 9,611 to 4,357,319.  

Since January 2022, nearly 90,000 more Virginians are employed. More Virginians moved off the sidelines begin and looking for a job in December; and the Commonwealth’s unemployment rate increased 0.2 percentage points to 3.0 percent which remains below the national rate of 3.5 percent. During the month, the number of unemployed residents increased by 5,126 to 128,912 but the overall number is down 10,422 since January 2022.  

"Throughout the first year of our administration, job growth in Virginia was overwhelmingly led by the private sector--providing 86 percent of year-over-year job growth--with our valuable defense and public sectors continuing their strong contributions as well,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “This encouraging report showed thousands of Virginians coming off the sidelines and getting back into the workforce. We remain laser-focused on improving Virginia’s competitive presence among states competing for jobs and businesses. As companies in Virginia continue to grow payrolls and drive our economy, we must keep moving forward to lower the cost of living and the cost of doing business in the Commonwealth.”  

Job growth averaged 9,000 a month over the past year which is over twice the 2021 average and 28 percent more than the pre-pandemic average in 2019. Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 3.0 percent is 0.3 of a percentage point below the rate from a year ago. 

The Commonwealth’s labor force participation rate increased to 63.7 percent in December. The labor force participation rate measures the proportion of the civilian population age 16 and older that is employed or actively looking for work.   

“Nearly 10,000 Virginians joined the labor force in December,” said Secretary of Labor Bryan Slater. “This was the largest increase since May of last year and is a promising sign that more people are getting off of the sidelines and back into the workforce, as we start the new year.”   

“The Commonwealth’s unemployment rate remained in a narrow range of 2.6 percent and 3.0 percent for much of 2022," said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Caren Merrick. “These low levels indicate a strong labor market, and we are encouraged by the number of people entered the workforce in December.” 

BLS publishes an additional employment figure from its Current Employment Statistics Survey (“CES” or “establishment survey”). Virginia CES employment edged up by 100 jobs in December to 4,097,900. 

The CES survey uses payroll records of establishment employers and is designed to provide a count of jobs under which the employer pays unemployment insurance. The LAUS survey is based on household interviews conducted each month for the Bureau of Labor Statistics and provides comprehensive data on the labor force, including those who are employed and unemployed. 

The household survey only distinguishes between whether a person is employed or unemployed, whereas CES counts each employee that is on an employer’s payroll. CES excludes business owners, self-employed persons, unpaid volunteers and private household workers, and those on unpaid leave or not working because of a labor dispute.

From January 2022 to December 2022, the VEC estimates that establishments in Virginia gained 104,300 jobs, an increase of 2.6 percent. The private sector recorded a gain of 82,100 jobs, while employment in the public sector increased by 22,200 jobs. 

During the same January 2022 to December 2022 period, on a seasonally adjusted basis, ten of eleven major industry divisions realized recovery in employment levels while one industry experienced contraction. The largest gains in the period occurred in education and health services up 26,900 jobs (+4.9%). The second gain occurred in government, up 22,200 jobs (+3.1%). The third largest gain occurred in leisure and hospitality, up 20,500 jobs (+5.3%). Other job gains occurred in professional and business services, (+10,300 jobs), trade, transportation, and utilities (+6,400 jobs), construction (+6,000 jobs), miscellaneous services (+5,200 jobs), manufacturing (+5,100 jobs), information (+3,300 jobs), and mining and logging (+400 jobs). The only job loss occurred in finance (-2,000 jobs). 

Comparing December 2022 figures to December 2021, on a seasonally adjusted basis, ten of eleven major industry divisions experienced employment increases while one saw an employment decrease. The largest absolute over-the-year job gain occurred in education and health services up 32,000 jobs (+5.9%). The second largest over-the-year job gain occurred in leisure and hospitality, up 23,200 jobs (+6.0%). The third largest over-the-year job gain occurred in government, up 15,000 jobs (+2.1%). Other job gains occurred in professional and business services (+9,900 jobs); trade, transportation, and utilities (+8,900 jobs); construction (+6,000 jobs); manufacturing (+5,200 jobs); miscellaneous services (+5,000 jobs); information (+3,00 jobs); and mining and logging (+300 jobs). The only job loss occurred in finance, with a decrease of 5,000 jobs. For more details, visit the Virginia Employment Commission’s website at

# # #