Skip to Content

Virginia’s Seasonally Adjusted Unemployment Rate Was Down 0.1 Percentage Point in October to 3.6 Percent

Richmond
November 17, 2017

RICHMOND — Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was down 0.1 percentage point in October to 3.6 percent, the second consecutive monthly decline, and was down 0.5 percentage point from a year ago. October’s unemployment rate of 3.6 percent was the lowest rate since the March 2008 rate of 3.6 percent. Household employment expanded slightly to 4,181,517, the 34th consecutive monthly increase and a new record high. The labor force contracted slightly, by 961, as the decline in the number of unemployed (-1,891) exceeded the slight increase in household employment (+930). Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continues to be below the national rate, which was down 0.1 percentage point in October to 4.1 percent.

Virginia’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment decreased by 5,800 jobs in October, following last month’s revised increase of 900 jobs. September’s initially reported loss of 6,900 jobs was revised upward by 7,800 jobs to an over-the-month gain of 900 jobs. Upward revisions occurred in all the major industry divisions with the exception of mining, which was not revised. The largest three revisions occurred in private education and health services (+2,100 jobs), trade and transportation (+1,600 jobs), and miscellaneous services (+1,000 jobs). In October, private sector employment decreased by 4,400 jobs to 3,258,900, and public sector payrolls decreased by 1,400 jobs to 714,200.  

From September 2017 to October 2017, seasonally adjusted employment decreased in six major industry divisions and increased in the other five major industry divisions. The largest job loss during October occurred in the trade and transportation sector, which was down 2,200 jobs to 661,700. The job losses in retail trade (-2,700 jobs) and transportation and warehousing (-1,100 jobs) outweighed the job gain in wholesale trade (+1,600 jobs). Professional and business services recorded the second largest over-the-month employment loss; employment in this sector declined by 1,600 jobs to 732,500, the third consecutive monthly decline. Total government experienced the third largest job loss, with a decline of 1,400 jobs to 714,200. For total government, the losses in local (-2,100 jobs) and state (-100 jobs) government employment outweighed the gain in federal government employment (+800 jobs). Other job losses were 1,200 jobs in leisure and hospitality to 402,500; 1,100 jobs in finance to 205,800; and 500 jobs in manufacturing to 233,400. The largest job gain occurred in miscellaneous services, which was up 900 jobs to 202,600. Other employment gains were: 700 jobs in private education and health services to 555,400; 400 jobs in construction to 192,400; and 100 jobs each in information and mining to 64,800 and 7,800, respectively. 

Nonfarm Employment in Virginia*
Seasonally Adjusted

Industry

Employment

September 2017 to
October 2017

October 2016 to
October 2017

October
2017

September
2017

October
2016

Change

% Change

Change

% Change

Total Nonfarm

3,973,100

3,978,900

3,939,400

-5,800

-0.1%

+33,700

+0.9%

Total Private Sector

3,258,900

3,263,300

3,222,900

-4,400

-0.1%

+36,000

+1.1%

Goods-Producing

433,600

433,600

429,600

+0

+0.0%

+4,000

+0.9%

Mining

7,800

7,700

7,600

+100

+1.3%

+200

+2.6%

Construction

192,400

192,000

190,100

+400

+0.2%

+2,300

+1.2%

Manufacturing

233,400

233,900

231,900

-500

-0.2%

+1,500

+0.6%

Service-Providing

3,539,500

3,545,300

3,509,800

-5,800

-0.2%

+29,700

+0.8%

Private Service-Providing

2,825,300

2,829,700

2,793,300

-4,400

-0.2%

+32,000

+1.1%

Trade, Transportation, and Utilities

661,700

663,900

664,400

-2,200

-0.3%

-2,700

-0.4%

Information

64,800

64,700

67,600

+100

+0.2%

-2,800

-4.1%

Finance

205,800

206,900

200,800

-1,100

-0.5%

+5,000

+2.5%

Professional and Business Services

732,500

734,100

720,000

-1,600

-0.2%

+12,500

+1.7%

Education and Health Services

555,400

554,700

540,700

+700

+0.1%

+14,700

+2.7%

Leisure and Hospitality Services

402,500

403,700

399,200

-1,200

-0.3%

+3,300

+0.8%

Miscellaneous Services

202,600

201,700

200,600

+900

+0.4%

+2,000

+1.0%

Government

714,200

715,600

716,500

-1,400

-0.2%

-2,300

-0.3%

Federal Government

179,900

179,100

179,000

+800

+0.4%

+900

+0.5%

State Government

161,400

161,500

160,900

-100

-0.1%

+500

+0.3%

Local Government

372,900

375,000

376,600

-2,100

-0.6%

-3,700

-1.0%

*Current month's estimates are preliminary.

From October 2016 to October 2017, Virginia’s seasonally adjusted total nonfarm employment was up 33,700 jobs, or 0.9 percent. Over-the-year employment growth in Virginia has been positive for 43 consecutive months. While October’s over-the-year growth fell below 1.0 percent—over-the-year growth has exceeded 1.0 percent all the preceding months in 2017—October’s numbers are preliminary and subject to revision next month. With the upward revisions to September’s preliminary numbers, over-the-year growth in September was revised to 1.3 percent from an initially reported 1.1 percent. In October, the private sector recorded an over-the-year gain of 36,000 jobs, while the public sector recorded an over-the-year loss of 2,300 jobs. Nationally, total nonfarm employment was up 1.4 percent from a year ago.

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. The largest over-the-year job gain occurred in private education and health services, up 14,700 jobs (+2.7 percent). The next largest over-the-year job gain occurred in professional and business services, up 12,500 jobs (+1.7 percent). Finance experienced the third largest over-the-year job gain, up 5,000 jobs (+2.5 percent). Other gains were in leisure and hospitality, up 3,300 jobs (+0.8 percent); construction, up 2,300 jobs (+1.2 percent); miscellaneous services, up 2,000 jobs (+1.0 percent); manufacturing, up 1,500 jobs (+0.6 percent); and mining, up 200 jobs (+2.6 percent). Compared to a-year-ago October, the largest job loss occurred in information, down 2,800 jobs (-4.1 percent). The other losses occurred in trade and transportation, down 2,700 jobs (-0.4 percent); and total government, down 2,300 jobs (-0.3 percent). For total government, the loss in local government employment (-3,700 jobs) outweighed the gains in federal (+900 jobs) and state (+500 jobs) government employment. 

Total Nonfarm Employment in Virginia*
Seasonally Adjusted

Area

Employment

September 2017 to
October 2017

October 2016 to
October 2017

October 
2017

September
2017

October
2016

Change

% Change

Change

% Change

Virginia

3,973,100

3,978,900

3,939,400

-5,800

-0.1%

+33,700

+0.9%

Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford MSA

78,700

78,700

77,500

+0

+0.0%

+1,200

+1.5%

Charlottesville MSA

116,900

117,400

114,600

-500

-0.4%

+2,300

+2.0%

Harrisonburg MSA

69,100

69,100

67,400

+0

+0.0%

+1,700

+2.5%

Lynchburg MSA

104,100

105,100

104,600

-1,000

-1.0%

-500

-0.5%

Northern Virginia MSA

1,462,600

1,460,000

1,449,500

+2,600

+0.2%

+13,100

+0.9%

Richmond MSA

678,200

680,700

669,400

-2,500

-0.4%

+8,800

+1.3%

Roanoke MSA

164,700

164,800

162,900

-100

-0.1%

+1,800

+1.1%

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

766,000

766,900

775,300

-900

-0.1%

-9,300

-1.2%

Winchester,
Virginia/West Virginia MSA

63,800

63,200

62,400

+600

+0.9%

+1,400

+2.2%

*Current month's estimates are preliminary.

Seasonally adjusted total nonfarm employment data is being produced for nine metropolitan areas. In October, five metropolitan areas experienced over-the-month job losses, two metropolitan areas experienced employment gains, and employment in the Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford and Harrisonburg metropolitan areas remained unchanged. The largest absolute job decline occurred in the Richmond metropolitan area, with a loss of 2,500 jobs. The Lynchburg metropolitan area experienced the next largest job loss, with a decrease of 1,000 jobs. The third largest job loss occurred in the Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News metropolitan area, with a decrease of 900 jobs. The other metropolitan areas that experienced losses were: Charlottesville (-500 jobs); and Roanoke (-100 jobs). The largest absolute job gain occurred in the Northern Virginia metropolitan area, with an increase of 2,600 jobs. The other metropolitan area that experienced a job gain was Winchester (+600 jobs).

Over the year, seasonally adjusted total nonfarm employment increased in seven metropolitan areas and decreased in the other two metropolitan areas. The Northern Virginia metropolitan area experienced the largest absolute job gain, up 13,100 jobs (+0.9 percent). Richmond was ranked second, with a gain of 8,800 jobs (+1.3 percent), and Charlottesville was ranked third, with a gain of 2,300 jobs (+2.0 percent). The remaining metropolitan areas with over-the-year job gains were:  Roanoke (+1,800 jobs); Harrisonburg (+1,700 jobs); Winchester (+1,400 jobs); and Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford (+1,200 jobs). The metropolitan areas with over-the-year losses were Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News (-9,300 jobs) and Lynchburg (-500 jobs).

Not Seasonally Adjusted Data

Virginia’s unadjusted unemployment rate was down 0.1 percentage point in October to 3.5 percent and was down 0.5 percentage point from a year ago. Compared to a year ago, the number of unemployed decreased by 19,161, household employment increased by 54,475, and as a result, the labor force rose by 35,314. Virginia’s not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continues to be below the national unadjusted rate, which was down 0.2 percentage point in October to 3.9 percent.

Compared to last month, the October unadjusted workweek for Virginia’s 170,200 manufacturing production workers decreased by 0.2 hour to 40.9 hours, average hourly earnings decreased by $0.11 to $19.25, and average weekly earnings decreased by $8.37 to $787.33. Compared to last October, the unadjusted workweek increased by 0.8 hour, average hourly earnings decreased by $0.03, and average weekly earnings were higher by $14.20.

The statistical reference week for the household survey this month was the week of October 8-14, 2017.

The Virginia Employment Commission plans to release the October local area unemployment rates on Thursday, November 30, 2017.  The data will be available on our website, www.VirginiaLMI.com.

The November statewide unemployment rate and employment data for both the state and metropolitan areas are scheduled to be released on Friday, December 22, 2017.

###


Please see the files below for detailed analysis of this month's unemployment numbers: