For Release:
January 18, 2019
Contact:
Ann Lang
Senior Economist
Economic Information & Analytics Division
(804) 786-3177 or (804) 786-7496

Virginia’s Seasonally Adjusted Unemployment Rate Held Steady at 2.8 Percent in December

~ Seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment was down 100 jobs between November 2018 and December 2018 ~

RICHMOND—Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was unchanged in December at 2.8 percent. The December 2018 seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for Virginia was down 0.8 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 third consecutive month, added 4,213 for a total of 4,359,242 and set a new record high. Household employment increased by 4,953, which was the twelfth consecutive monthly increase, and at 4,236,062, set a new record high. The number of unemployed continued to drop, declining by 740 to 123,180. Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continues to be below the national rate, which was up 0.2 percentage point in December to 3.9 percent.

Virginia’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment decreased by a slight 100 jobs in December to 4,031,100, after increasing the previous eleven months, and as a preliminary estimate, the December employment figure will be revised next month. For November, the initially reported gain of 6,600 jobs was revised downward by 500 jobs to an over-the-month gain of 6,100 jobs. In December, private sector employment decreased by 1,100 jobs to 3,330,900, while public sector payrolls increased by 1,000 jobs to 700,200.

From November 2018 to December 2018, seasonally adjusted employment decreased in four major industry divisions, increased in six, and remained unchanged in mining at 8,400. The largest job loss during December occurred in the professional and business services sector, which decreased by 2,900 jobs to 750,600. Employment losses occurred in all the professional and business services subsectors: administrative and support services (-2,000 jobs); professional, scientific, and technical services (-800 jobs); and management of companies (-100 jobs). The second largest over-the-month decline occurred in trade and transportation, with a loss of 2,700 jobs to 670,900. The job losses in transportation and warehousing (-2,300 jobs) and retail trade (-1,200 jobs) outweighed the job gain in wholesale trade (+800 jobs). Other employment losses were 800 jobs in finance to 210,200 and 200 jobs in information to 65,300. The largest job gain during December occurred in manufacturing, which increased by 2,600 jobs to 248,100, and was the seventh consecutive monthly increase. The second largest over-the-month increase occurred in private education and health services, with a gain of 1,400 jobs to 548,500. In December, health care and social assistance increased by 1,700 jobs, while private education decreased by 300 jobs. Total government experienced the third largest over-the-month gain, increasing by 1,000 jobs to 700,200. For total government, the gains occurred in federal (+1,000 jobs) and state (+100 jobs) government employment, while local government employment declined (-100 jobs). Other employment gains were: 700 jobs in construction to 205,500; 600 jobs in miscellaneous services to 207,500; and 200 jobs in leisure and hospitality to 415,900.

Nonfarm Employment in Virginia*
Seasonally Adjusted

Industry

Employment

November 2018 to
December 2018

December 2017 to
December 2018

December
2018

November
2018

December
2017

Change

% Change

Change

% Change

Total Nonfarm

4,031,100

4,031,200

3,954,100

-100

-0.0%

+77,000

+1.9%

Total Private Sector

3,330,900

3,332,000

3,238,000

-1,100

-0.0%

+92,900

+2.9%

Goods-Producing

462,000

458,700

441,900

+3,300

+0.7%

+20,100

+4.5%

   Mining

8,400

8,400

8,200

+0

+0.0%

+200

+2.4%

   Construction

205,500

204,800

197,300

+700

+0.3%

+8,200

+4.2%

   Manufacturing

248,100

245,500

236,400

+2,600

+1.1%

+11,700

+4.9%

Service-Providing

3,569,100

3,572,500

3,512,200

-3,400

-0.1%

+56,900

+1.6%

  Private Service-Providing

2,868,900

2,873,300

2,796,100

-4,400

-0.2%

+72,800

+2.6%

   Trade, Transportation, and Utilities

670,900

673,600

662,000

-2,700

-0.4%

+8,900

+1.3%

   Information

65,300

65,500

67,200

-200

-0.3%

-1,900

-2.8%

   Finance

210,200

211,000

206,200

-800

-0.4%

+4,000

+1.9%

   Professional and Business Services

750,600

753,500

730,000

-2,900

-0.4%

+20,600

+2.8%

   Education and Health Services

548,500

547,100

528,900

+1,400

+0.3%

+19,600

+3.7%

   Leisure and Hospitality Services

415,900

415,700

397,900

+200

+0.0%

+18,000

+4.5%

   Miscellaneous Services

207,500

206,900

203,900

+600

+0.3%

+3,600

+1.8%

  Government

700,200

699,200

716,100

+1,000

+0.1%

-15,900

-2.2%

   Federal Government

178,100

177,100

177,700

+1,000

+0.6%

+400

+0.2%

   State Government

159,600

159,500

159,300

+100

+0.1%

+300

+0.2%

   Local Government

362,500

362,600

379,100

-100

-0.0%

-16,600

-4.4%

*Current month's estimates are preliminary.

From December 2017 to December 2018, Virginia’s seasonally adjusted total nonfarm employment was up 77,000 jobs, or 1.9 percent. Over-the-year employment growth in Virginia has been positive for 57 consecutive months. Virginia’s over-the-year growth rate exceeded the national rate for the second consecutive month, with a Virginia December growth rate of 1.9 percent versus the national rate of 1.8 percent. In December, the private sector recorded an over-the-year gain of 92,900 jobs, while employment in the public sector declined by 15,900 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. The largest over-the-year job gain occurred in professional and business services, up 20,600 jobs (+2.8 percent). The next largest over-the-year job gain occurred in private education and health services, up 19,600 jobs (+3.7 percent). Leisure and hospitality experienced the third largest over-the-year job gain, up 18,000 jobs (+4.5 percent). Other gains were in manufacturing, up 11,700 jobs (+4.9 percent); trade and transportation, up 8,900 jobs (+1.3 percent); construction, up 8,200 jobs (+4.2 percent); finance, up 4,000 jobs (+1.9 percent); miscellaneous services, up 3,600 jobs (+1.8 percent); and mining, up 200 jobs (+2.4 percent). Compared to a-year-ago December, total government fell by 15,900 jobs (-2.2 percent), with the loss in local government employment (-16,600 jobs) outweighing the gains in federal (+400 jobs) and state (+300 jobs) government employment. In addition, employment in information was down 1,900 jobs (-2.8 percent).

Total Nonfarm Employment in Virginia*
Seasonally Adjusted

Area

Employment

November 2018 to
December 2018

December 2017 to
December 2018

December
2018

November
2018

December
2017

Change

% Change

Change

% Change

Virginia

4,031,100

4,031,200

3,954,100

-100

-0.0%

+77,000

+1.9%

Blacksburg-Christiansburg-
Radford MSA

77,600

77,800

75,800

-200

-0.3%

+1,800

+2.4%

Charlottesville MSA

121,600

121,600

118,400

+0

+0.0%

+3,200

+2.7%

Harrisonburg MSA

68,200

68,000

67,500

+200

+0.3%

+700

+1.0%

Lynchburg MSA

106,100

106,000

104,200

+100

+0.1%

+1,900

+1.8%

Northern Virginia MSA

1,488,000

1,485,900

1,475,900

+2,100

+0.1%

+12,100

+0.8%

Richmond MSA

683,400

683,200

672,300

+200

+0.0%

+11,100

+1.7%

Roanoke MSA

163,100

163,300

159,000

-200

-0.1%

+4,100

+2.6%

Staunton-Waynesboro MSA

51,200

51,100

50,100

+100

+0.2%

+1,100

+2.2%

Virginia Beach-
Norfolk-Newport News,
Virginia/North Carolina MSA

791,000

790,700

777,300

+300

+0.0%

+13,700

+1.8%

Winchester,
Virginia/West Virginia MSA

66,200

65,800

64,300

+400

+0.6%

+1,900

+3.0%

*Current month's estimates are preliminary.

Seasonally adjusted total nonfarm employment data is produced for ten metropolitan areas. In December, seven metropolitan areas experienced over-the-month job gains; two experienced losses; and employment in the Charlottesville metropolitan area remained unchanged. The largest absolute job gain occurred in Northern Virginia, with a gain of 2,100 jobs. The other metropolitan areas that experienced gains were: Winchester (+400 jobs); Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News (+300 jobs); Harrisonburg and Richmond (+200 jobs each); and Lynchburg and Staunton-Waynesboro (+100 jobs each). Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford and Roanoke experienced losses of 200 jobs each.

Over the year, seasonally adjusted total nonfarm employment increased in all metropolitan areas. The Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News metropolitan area experienced the largest absolute job gain, up 13,700 jobs (+1.8 percent). Northern Virginia was ranked second, with a gain of 12,100 jobs (+0.8 percent), and Richmond was ranked third, with a gain of 11,100 jobs (+1.7 percent). The other over-the-year job gains occurred in:  Roanoke (+4,100 jobs); Charlottesville (+3,200 jobs); Lynchburg and Winchester (+1,900 jobs each); Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford (+1,800 jobs); Staunton-Waynesboro (+1,100 jobs); and Harrisonburg (+700 jobs). 

Not Seasonally Adjusted Data

Virginia’s unadjusted unemployment rate was down 0.1 percentage point in December to 2.6 percent and was down 0.7 percentage point from a year ago. Compared to a year ago, the number of unemployed decreased by 29,748, household employment increased by 88,150, and as a result, the labor force rose by 58,402. Virginia’s not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continues to be below the national unadjusted rate, which was up 0.2 percentage point in December to 3.7 percent.

Compared to last month, the December unadjusted workweek for Virginia’s 175,700 manufacturing production workers decreased by 1.6 hours to 39.6 hours, average hourly earnings increased by $0.43 to $19.94, and average weekly earnings decreased by $14.19 to $789.62. Compared to last December, the unadjusted workweek decreased by 1.4 hours, average hourly earnings increased by $0.18, and average weekly earnings were lower by $20.54.

The statistical reference week for the household survey this month was the week of December 9-15, 2018.

The Virginia Employment Commission plans to release the December local area unemployment rates on Wednesday, January 30, 2019. The data will be available on our website, www.VirginiaLMI.com.

The January statewide unemployment rate and employment data for both the state and metropolitan areas are scheduled to be released on Monday, March 11, 2019.

Files detailing December's unemployment numbers are available below: