For Release:
March 22, 2019
Contact:
Ann Lang
Senior Economist
Economic Information & Analytics Division
(804) 786-3177 or (804) 786-7496

Virginia’s Seasonally Adjusted Unemployment Rate Was Up 0.1 Percentage Point in February to 2.9 Percent

~ Seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment was down 3,000 jobs between January 2019 and February 2019 ~

RICHMOND — Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was up 0.1 percentage point in February to 2.9 percent, but was 0.3 percentage point below last February. The labor force, which expanded for the eighth consecutive month, added 8,954 for a total of 4,354,967, a new record high. Household employment increased by 6,886 and at 4,230,408, also set a new record high. The number of unemployed increased by 2,068 to 124,559, the fourth consecutive monthly increase. Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continues to be below the national rate, which was down 0.2 percentage point in February to 3.8 percent.

Virginia’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment decreased by 3,000 jobs in February to 4,026,000. February’s decline followed January’s strong gain of 20,400 jobs, which was revised downward by 3,300 jobs from the initially reported gain of 23,700 jobs. In February, private sector employment decreased by 2,400 jobs to 3,302,700, while public sector payrolls decreased by 600 jobs to 723,300.

From January 2018 to February 2019, seasonally adjusted employment decreased in five major industry divisions, increased in four, and remained unchanged in mining at 7,900 and in finance at 207,600. The largest job loss during February occurred in the information sector, which decreased by 1,400 jobs to 63,900. The second largest over-the-month job loss occurred in trade and transportation, with a loss of 1,100 jobs to 658,300. Losses occurred in all of the trade and transportation subsectors: retail trade (-500 jobs); transportation and warehousing (-400 jobs); and wholesale trade (-200 jobs). The private education and health services sector experienced the third largest over-the-month drop, declining by 1,000 jobs to 542,900. In February, the loss in private education (-1,900 jobs) outweighed the gain in health care and social assistance (+900 jobs). Other employment losses were 600 jobs in total government to 723,300 and 300 jobs in miscellaneous services to 202,800. For total government, the losses in state       (-400 jobs) and local (-300 jobs) government employment outweighed the slight gain in federal government employment (+100 jobs). The largest job gain during February occurred in the professional and business services sector, which added 700 jobs to 757,700. Other employment gains were 400 jobs in manufacturing to 245,500; 200 jobs in construction to 198,900; and 100 jobs in leisure and hospitality to 417,200. 

Nonfarm Employment in Virginia*
Seasonally Adjusted

Industry

Employment

January 2019 to
February 2019

February 2018 to
February 2019

February
2019

January
2019

February
2018

Change

% Change

Change

% Change

Total Nonfarm

4,026,000

4,029,000

3,994,500

-3,000

-0.1%

+31,500

+0.8%

Total Private Sector

3,302,700

3,305,100

3,274,300

-2,400

-0.1%

+28,400

+0.9%

Goods-Producing

452,300

451,700

444,100

+600

+0.1%

+8,200

+1.8%

   Mining

7,900

7,900

7,900

+0

+0.0%

+0

+0.0%

   Construction

198,900

198,700

198,300

+200

+0.1%

+600

+0.3%

   Manufacturing

245,500

245,100

237,900

+400

+0.2%

+7,600

+3.2%

Service-Providing

3,573,700

3,577,300

3,550,400

-3,600

-0.1%

+23,300

+0.7%

  Private Service-Providing

2,850,400

2,853,400

2,830,200

-3,000

-0.1%

+20,200

+0.7%

   Trade, Transportation, and Utilities

658,300

659,400

662,400

-1,100

-0.2%

-4,100

-0.6%

   Information

63,900

65,300

68,100

-1,400

-2.1%

-4,200

-6.2%

   Finance

207,600

207,600

207,400

+0

+0.0%

+200

+0.1%

   Professional and Business Services

757,700

757,000

744,800

+700

+0.1%

+12,900

+1.7%

   Education and Health Services

542,900

543,900

538,700

-1,000

-0.2%

+4,200

+0.8%

   Leisure and Hospitality Services

417,200

417,100

407,600

+100

+0.0%

+9,600

+2.4%

   Miscellaneous Services

202,800

203,100

201,200

-300

-0.1%

+1,600

+0.8%

  Government

723,300

723,900

720,200

-600

-0.1%

+3,100

+0.4%

   Federal Government

179,600

179,500

178,300

+100

+0.1%

+1,300

+0.7%

   State Government

160,200

160,600

159,800

-400

-0.2%

+400

+0.3%

   Local Government

383,500

383,800

382,100

-300

-0.1%

+1,400

+0.4%

*Current month's estimates are preliminary.

From February 2018 to February 2019, Virginia’s seasonally adjusted total nonfarm employment was up 31,500 jobs, or 0.8 percent. Over-the-year employment growth in Virginia has been positive for 59 consecutive months. Nationally, over-the-year growth also slowed in February to 1.7 percent from 1.9 percent in January. For Virginia, the private sector recorded an over-the-year gain of 28,400 jobs, while employment in the public sector increased by 3,100 jobs.

Compared to a year ago, on a seasonally adjusted basis, eight of the eleven major industry divisions experienced employment gains, two experienced employment losses, and mining employment remained unchanged. The largest over-the-year job gain occurred in professional and business services, up 12,900 jobs (+1.7 percent). The next largest over-the-year job gain occurred in leisure and hospitality, up 9,600 jobs (+2.4 percent). Manufacturing experienced the third largest over-the-year job gain, up 7,600 jobs (+3.2 percent). Other gains were in private education and health services, up 4,200 jobs (+0.8 percent); total government, up 3,100 jobs (+0.4 percent); miscellaneous services, up 1,600 jobs (+0.8 percent); construction, up 600 jobs (+0.3 percent); and finance, up 200 jobs (+0.1 percent). For total government, gains occurred in all the subsectors: local (+1,400 jobs), federal (+1,300 jobs), and state (+400 jobs) government employment. Compared to a-year-ago February, information fell by 4,200 jobs     (-6.2 percent), and trade and transportation employment fell by 4,100 jobs (-0.6 percent).

Total Nonfarm Employment in Virginia*
Seasonally Adjusted

Area

Employment

January 2019 to
February 2019

February 2018 to
February 2019

February
2019

January
2019

February
2018

Change

% Change

Change

% Change

Virginia

4,026,000

4,029,000

3,994,500

-3,000

-0.1%

+31,500

+0.8%

Blacksburg-Christiansburg-
Radford MSA

77,000

77,600

77,000

-600

-0.8%

+0

+0.0%

Charlottesville MSA

118,900

119,000

118,200

-100

-0.1%

+700

+0.6%

Harrisonburg MSA

68,700

68,800

68,100

-100

-0.1%

+600

+0.9%

Lynchburg MSA

105,500

106,000

104,600

-500

-0.5%

+900

+0.9%

Northern Virginia MSA

1,497,000

1,498,400

1,480,700

-1,400

-0.1%

+16,300

+1.1%

Richmond MSA

682,100

681,700

675,700

+400

+0.1%

+6,400

+0.9%

Roanoke MSA

162,800

162,600

161,200

+200

+0.1%

+1,600

+1.0%

Staunton-Waynesboro MSA

51,400

51,200

50,700

+200

+0.4%

+700

+1.4%

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

792,100

791,100

791,300

+1,000

+0.1%

+800

+0.1%

Winchester,
Virginia/West Virginia MSA

64,900

65,000

64,300

-100

-0.2%

+600

+0.9%

*Current month's estimates are preliminary.

Seasonally adjusted total nonfarm employment data is produced for ten metropolitan areas. In February, six metropolitan areas experienced over-the-month job losses, while employment in the other four increased. The largest absolute job loss occurred in Northern Virginia, with a decline of 1,400 jobs. The other metropolitan areas that experienced jobs losses were: Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford (-600 jobs); Lynchburg (-500 jobs); and Charlottesville, Harrisonburg, and Winchester (-100 jobs each). The largest absolute job gain occurred in Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, with a gain of 1,000 jobs. Other job gains were 400 jobs in Richmond and 200 jobs each in Roanoke and Staunton-Waynesboro.

Over the year, seasonally adjusted total nonfarm employment increased in all metropolitan areas with the exception of Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford, which was unchanged from a year ago. The Northern Virginia metropolitan area experienced the largest absolute job gain, up 16,300 jobs (+1.1 percent). Richmond was ranked second, with a gain of 6,400 jobs (+0.9 percent). The other over-the-year job gains occurred in:  Roanoke (+1,600 jobs); Lynchburg (+900 jobs); Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News (+800 jobs); Charlottesville and Staunton-Waynesboro (+700 jobs each); and Harrisonburg and Winchester (+600 jobs each).

Not Seasonally Adjusted Data

Virginia’s unadjusted unemployment rate was unchanged in February at 3.2 percent, but was down 0.2 percentage point from a year ago. Compared to a year ago, the number of unemployed decreased by 7,894, household employment increased by 51,979, and as a result, the labor force rose by 44,085. Virginia’s not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continues to be below the national unadjusted rate, which was down 0.3 percentage point in February to 4.1 percent.

Compared to last month, the February unadjusted workweek for Virginia’s 171,400 manufacturing production workers increased by 0.1 hour to 39.8 hours, average hourly earnings decreased by $0.24 to $20.03, and average weekly earnings decreased by $7.53 to $797.19. Compared to last February, the unadjusted workweek decreased by 0.7 hour, average hourly earnings increased by $0.37, and average weekly earnings were higher by $0.96.

The statistical reference week for the household survey this month was the week of February 10-16, 2019.

The Virginia Employment Commission plans to release the February local area unemployment rates on Wednesday, April 3, 2019.  The data will be available on our website, www.VirginiaLMI.com.

The March statewide unemployment rate and employment data for both the state and metropolitan areas are scheduled to be released on Friday, April 19, 2019.

Files detailing February's unemployment numbers are available below: