For Release:
January 23, 2018
Contact:
Ann Lang
Senior Economist
Economic Information & Analytics Division
(804) 786-3177 or (804) 786-7496

Virginia’s Seasonally Adjusted Unemployment Rate Was Unchanged in December at 3.7 Percent

~ Seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment was down 2,100 jobs between November 2017 and December 2017 ~

RICHMOND—Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was unchanged in December at 3.7 percent, but was down 0.4 percentage point from a year ago. At the start of 2017, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 4.0 percent; it then declined by a 0.1 percentage point in each of the following two months to 3.8 percent in March. Since then the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has been in the 3.7-3.8 percent range, with the exception of October when the rate dipped to 3.6 percent—the lowest rate since March 2008. In December, the labor force contracted by 18,263 as household employment fell by 16,746 and the number of unemployed fell by 1,517. Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continues to be below the national rate, which was unchanged in December at 4.1 percent.

Virginia’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment decreased by 2,100 jobs in December to 3,966,500, which was the third consecutive monthly decline. However, November’s initially reported job loss was not quite as large as first reported. The initially reported loss of 5,700 jobs was revised to an over-the-month loss of 3,600 jobs. Upward revisions totaling 2,700 jobs occurred in six industries, while downward revisions totaling 600 jobs occurred in three industries. The two largest revisions occurred in leisure and hospitality (+900 jobs) and in professional and business services (+700 jobs), but despite these revisions, these two industries still posted over-the-month job losses in November. In December, private sector employment decreased by 3,200 jobs to 3,253,400, while public sector payrolls increased by 1,100 jobs to 713,100.

From November 2017 to December 2017, seasonally adjusted employment decreased in three major industry divisions, increased in seven major industry divisions, and was unchanged in mining at 7,800. The largest job loss during December occurred in the professional and business services sector, which was down 4,600 jobs to 725,300. The job loss in professional, scientific, and technical services (-5,100 jobs) outweighed the job gains in administrative and support services (+300 jobs) and in management of companies (+200 jobs). The leisure and hospitality sector recorded the second largest over-the-month employment loss, with a loss of 3,400 jobs to 401,800. Private education and health services experienced the third largest over-the-month job loss, declining by 2,900 jobs to 552,500. Private education declined by 2,200 jobs, and health care and social assistance declined by 700 jobs. The largest job gain during December occurred in trade and transportation. Employment in this sector increased by 2,800 jobs to 659,200, after declining the previous two months. The second largest over-the-month job gain occurred in manufacturing employment, which increased by 2,000 jobs to 235,500. Other employment gains were: 1,200 jobs in construction to 194,600; 1,100 jobs in total government to 713,100; 700 jobs each in miscellaneous services and information to 204,000 and 65,600, respectively; and 300 jobs in finance to 207,100. For total government, the gains in local (+900 jobs) and state (+800 jobs) government employment outweighed the loss in federal government employment (-600 jobs).  

Nonfarm Employment in Virginia*
Seasonally Adjusted

Industry

Employment

November 2017 to
December 2017

December 2016 to
December 2017

December
2017

November
2017

December
2016

Change

% Change

Change

% Change

Total Nonfarm

3,966,500

3,968,600

3,936,300

-2,100

-0.1%

+30,200

+0.8%

Total Private Sector

3,253,400

3,256,600

3,221,200

-3,200

-0.1%

+32,200

+1.0%

Goods-Producing

437,900

434,700

430,100

+3,200

+0.7%

+7,800

+1.8%

Mining

7,800

7,800

7,700

+0

+0.0%

+100

+1.3%

Construction

194,600

193,400

189,300

+1,200

+0.6%

+5,300

+2.8%

Manufacturing

235,500

233,500

233,100

+2,000

+0.9%

+2,400

+1.0%

Service-Providing

3,528,600

3,533,900

3,506,200

-5,300

-0.1%

+22,400

+0.6%

Private Service-Providing

2,815,500

2,821,900

2,791,100

-6,400

-0.2%

+24,400

+0.9%

Trade, Transportation, and Utilities

659,200

656,400

666,500

+2,800

+0.4%

-7,300

-1.1%

Information

65,600

64,900

65,700

+700

+1.1%

-100

-0.2%

Finance

207,100

206,800

202,100

+300

+0.1%

+5,000

+2.5%

Professional and Business Services

725,300

729,900

718,600

-4,600

-0.6%

+6,700

+0.9%

Education and Health Services

552,500

555,400

538,100

-2,900

-0.5%

+14,400

+2.7%

Leisure and Hospitality Services

401,800

405,200

398,400

-3,400

-0.8%

+3,400

+0.9%

Miscellaneous Services

204,000

203,300

201,700

+700

+0.3%

+2,300

+1.1%

Government

713,100

712,000

715,100

+1,100

+0.2%

-2,000

-0.3%

Federal Government

178,500

179,100

178,500

-600

-0.3%

+0

+0.0%

State Government

161,100

160,300

161,200

+800

+0.5%

-100

-0.1%

Local Government

373,500

372,600

375,400

+900

+0.2%

-1,900

-0.5%

*Current month's estimates are preliminary.

From December 2016 to December 2017, Virginia’s seasonally adjusted total nonfarm employment was up 30,200 jobs, or 0.8 percent. Over-the-year employment growth in Virginia has been positive for 45 consecutive months. While over-the-year growth for the last three months of 2017 fell below 1.0 percent, growth in all the preceding months of 2017 exceeded 1.0 percent. In December, the private sector recorded an over-the-year gain of 32,200 jobs, while the public sector recorded an over-the-year loss of 2,000 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 14,400 jobs (+2.7 percent). The next largest over-the-year job gain occurred in professional and business services, up 6,700 jobs (+0.9 percent). Construction experienced the third largest over-the-year job gain, up 5,300 jobs (+2.8 percent). Other gains were in finance, up 5,000 jobs (+2.5 percent); leisure and hospitality, up 3,400 jobs (+0.9 percent); manufacturing, up 2,400 jobs (+1.0 percent); miscellaneous services, up 2,300 jobs (+1.1 percent); and mining, up 100 jobs (+1.3 percent). Compared to a-year-ago December, the largest job loss occurred in trade and transportation, down 7,300 jobs (-1.1 percent). The other losses occurred in total government, down 2,000 jobs (-0.3 percent); and information, down 100 jobs (-0.2 percent). For total government, the losses occurred in local (-1,900 jobs) and state (-100 jobs) government employment.

Total Nonfarm Employment in Virginia*
Seasonally Adjusted

Area

Employment

November 2017 to
December 2017

December 2016 to
December 2017

December
2017

November
2017

December
2016

Change

% Change

Change

% Change

Virginia

3,966,500

3,968,600

3,936,300

-2,100

-0.1%

+30,200

+0.8%

Blacksburg-Christiansburg-
Radford MSA

78,200

77,900

77,600

+300

+0.4%

+600

+0.8%

Charlottesville MSA

117,900

117,400

115,700

+500

+0.4%

+2,200

+1.9%

Harrisonburg MSA

68,800

68,700

67,700

+100

+0.1%

+1,100

+1.6%

Lynchburg MSA

104,800

103,900

104,800

+900

+0.9%

+0

+0.0%

Northern Virginia MSA

1,471,100

1,465,200

1,450,200

+5,900

+0.4%

+20,900

+1.4%

Richmond MSA

678,200

677,000

667,100

+1,200

+0.2%

+11,100

+1.7%

Roanoke MSA

163,800

164,500

162,400

-700

-0.4%

+1,400

+0.9%

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

762,500

764,100

771,700

-1,600

-0.2%

-9,200

-1.2%

Winchester,
Virginia/West Virginia MSA

63,400

63,800

62,500

-400

-0.6%

+900

+1.4%

*Current month's estimates are preliminary.

Seasonally adjusted total nonfarm employment data is being produced for nine metropolitan areas. In December, six metropolitan areas experienced over-the-month job gains, while the other three metropolitan areas experienced employment losses. The largest absolute job increase occurred in the Northern Virginia metropolitan area, with a gain of 5,900 jobs. The Richmond metropolitan area experienced the next largest job gain, with an increase of 1,200 jobs. The other metropolitan areas that experienced gains were: Lynchburg (+900 jobs); Charlottesville (+500 jobs); Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford (+300 jobs); and Harrisonburg (+100 jobs). The largest absolute job loss occurred in the Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News metropolitan area, with a decrease of 1,600 jobs. The other metropolitan areas that experienced a job losses were Roanoke (-700 jobs) and Winchester (-400 jobs).

Over the year, seasonally adjusted total nonfarm employment increased in seven metropolitan areas, decreased in the Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News metropolitan area (-9,200 jobs), and remained unchanged in the Lynchburg metropolitan area. The Northern Virginia metropolitan area experienced the largest absolute job gain, up 20,900 jobs (+1.4 percent). Richmond was ranked second, with a gain of 11,100 jobs (+1.7 percent), and Charlottesville was ranked third, with a gain of 2,200 jobs (+1.9 percent). The remaining metropolitan areas with over-the-year job gains were:  Roanoke (+1,400 jobs); Harrisonburg (+1,100 jobs); Winchester (+900 jobs); and Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford (+600 jobs).

Not Seasonally Adjusted Data

Virginia’s unadjusted unemployment rate was down 0.2 percentage point in December to 3.4 percent and was down 0.4 percentage point from a year ago. Compared to a year ago, the number of unemployed decreased by 17,298, household employment increased by 36,702, and as a result, the labor force rose by 19,404. Virginia’s not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continues to be below the national unadjusted rate, which was unchanged in December at 3.9 percent.

Compared to last month, the December unadjusted workweek for Virginia’s 170,100 manufacturing production workers decreased by 0.7 hour to 40.6 hours, average hourly earnings increased by $0.01 to $19.31, and average weekly earnings decreased by $13.10 to $783.99. Compared to last December, the unadjusted workweek was unchanged, average hourly earnings decreased by $0.04, and average weekly earnings were lower by $1.62.

The statistical reference week for the household survey this month was the week of December 10-16, 2017.

The Virginia Employment Commission plans to release the December local area unemployment rates on Tuesday, February 6, 2018.  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 12, 2018.

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