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For Release:
March 12, 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 January at 3.6 Percent

~ Seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment was up 6,000 jobs between December 2017 and January 2018 ~

RICHMOND—Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was unchanged again in January at 3.6 percent, but was down 0.4 percentage point from a year ago. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has remained steady at 3.6 percent for five consecutive months—the lowest rate since the 3.5 percent rate in April 2008 and 3.9 percentage points below the peak rate of 7.5 percent in February 2010. In January, the labor force contracted by a slight 1,328 as the number of unemployed fell by 2,291 and household employment rose by only 963. Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continues to be below the national rate, which was unchanged again in January at 4.1 percent.

Virginia’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment increased by 6,000 jobs in January to 3,960,100—with the annual benchmark revision, this is the new record high. January’s increase followed December’s revised decline of 2,500 jobs, which was slightly larger than the initially reported loss of 2,100 jobs. In January, private sector employment increased by 6,800 jobs to 3,244,800, while public sector payrolls decreased by 800 jobs to 715,300.

From December 2017 to January 2018, seasonally adjusted employment increased in six major industry divisions and decreased in the other five. The largest job gain during January occurred in professional and business services. Employment in this sector increased by 3,300 jobs to 733,300. The job gain in professional, scientific, and technical services (+6,200 jobs) outweighed the job losses in administrative and support services (-2,200 jobs) and management of companies (-700 jobs). The second largest over-the-month job gain occurred in leisure and hospitality, which posted an employment increase of 2,600 jobs to 400,500. Private education and health services experienced the third largest over-the-month job gain, increasing by 2,100 jobs to 531,000. Private education increased by 1,800 jobs, and health care and social assistance increased by 300 jobs. Other employment gains were: 1,200 jobs in miscellaneous services to 205,100; 1,100 jobs in information to 68,300; and 200 jobs in manufacturing to 236,600. The largest job loss during January occurred in the trade and transportation sector, which was down 2,700 jobs to 659,300. Job losses occurred in all sectors: wholesale trade (-1,300 jobs), transportation and warehousing (-800 jobs), and retail trade (-600 jobs). Other employment losses occurred in total government, down 800 jobs, to 715,300; construction, down 600 jobs, to 196,700; finance, down 300 jobs, to 205,900; and mining, down 100 jobs, to 8,100. For total government, employment losses occurred at all levels: state (-400 jobs); federal (-300 jobs); and local (-100 jobs).

Nonfarm Employment in Virginia*
Seasonally Adjusted

Industry

Employment

December 2017 to
January 2018

January 2017 to
January 2018

January
2018

December
2017

January
2017

Change

% Change

Change

% Change

Total Nonfarm

3,960,100

3,954,100

3,940,200

+6,000

+0.2%

+19,900

+0.5%

Total Private Sector

3,244,800

3,238,000

3,223,500

+6,800

+0.2%

+21,300

+0.7%

Goods-Producing

441,400

441,900

432,700

-500

-0.1%

+8,700

+2.0%

   Mining

8,100

8,200

7,900

-100

-1.2%

+200

+2.5%

   Construction

196,700

197,300

191,600

-600

-0.3%

+5,100

+2.7%

   Manufacturing

236,600

236,400

233,200

+200

+0.1%

+3,400

+1.5%

Service-Providing

3,518,700

3,512,200

3,507,500

+6,500

+0.2%

+11,200

+0.3%

  Private Service-Providing

2,803,400

2,796,100

2,790,800

+7,300

+0.3%

+12,600

+0.5%

   Trade, Transportation, and Utilities

659,300

662,000

664,000

-2,700

-0.4%

-4,700

-0.7%

   Information

68,300

67,200

68,200

+1,100

+1.6%

+100

+0.1%

   Finance

205,900

206,200

203,400

-300

-0.1%

+2,500

+1.2%

   Professional and Business Services

733,300

730,000

721,100

+3,300

+0.5%

+12,200

+1.7%

   Education and Health Services

531,000

528,900

528,300

+2,100

+0.4%

+2,700

+0.5%

   Leisure and Hospitality Services

400,500

397,900

403,700

+2,600

+0.7%

-3,200

-0.8%

   Miscellaneous Services

205,100

203,900

202,100

+1,200

+0.6%

+3,000

+1.5%

  Government

715,300

716,100

716,700

-800

-0.1%

-1,400

-0.2%

   Federal Government

177,400

177,700

178,700

-300

-0.2%

-1,300

-0.7%

   State Government

158,900

159,300

159,800

-400

-0.3%

-900

-0.6%

   Local Government

379,000

379,100

378,200

-100

-0.0%

+800

+0.2%

*Current month's estimates are preliminary.

From January 2017 to January 2018, Virginia’s seasonally adjusted total nonfarm employment was up 19,900 jobs, or 0.5 percent. Over-the-year employment growth in Virginia has been positive for 46 consecutive months, and January’s growth of 0.5 percent was unchanged from December. In January, the private sector recorded an over-the-year gain of 21,300 jobs, while the public sector recorded an over-the-year loss of 1,400 jobs. Nationally, total nonfarm employment was up 1.5 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 professional and business services, up 12,200 jobs (+1.7 percent). The next largest over-the-year job gain occurred in construction, up 5,100 jobs (+2.7 percent). Manufacturing experienced the third largest over-the-year job gain, up 3,400 jobs (+1.5 percent). Other gains were in miscellaneous services, up 3,000 jobs (+1.5 percent); private education and health services, up 2,700 jobs (+0.5 percent); finance, up 2,500 jobs (+1.2 percent); mining, up 200 jobs (+2.5 percent); and information, up 100 jobs (+0.1 percent). Compared to a-year-ago January, the largest job loss occurred in trade and transportation, down 4,700 jobs (-0.7 percent). The other losses occurred in leisure and hospitality, down 3,200 jobs (-0.8 percent) and total government, down 1,400 jobs (-0.2 percent). For total government, the losses in federal (-1,300 jobs) and state (-900 jobs) government employment outweighed the gain in local government employment (+800 jobs).

Total Nonfarm Employment in Virginia*
Seasonally Adjusted

Area

Employment

December 2017 to
January 2018

January 2017 to
January 2018

January
2018

December
2017

January
2017

Change

% Change

Change

% Change

Virginia

3,960,100

3,954,100

3,940,200

+6,000

+0.2%

+19,900

+0.5%

Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford MSA

76,200

75,800

76,800

+400

+0.5%

-600

-0.8%

Charlottesville MSA

119,200

118,400

115,900

+800

+0.7%

+3,300

+2.8%

Harrisonburg MSA

67,700

67,500

67,200

+200

+0.3%

+500

+0.7%

Lynchburg MSA

104,000

104,200

103,800

-200

-0.2%

+200

+0.2%

Northern Virginia MSA

1,479,000

1,475,900

1,450,500

+3,100

+0.2%

+28,500

+2.0%

Richmond MSA

670,400

672,300

666,400

-1,900

-0.3%

+4,000

+0.6%

Roanoke MSA

159,400

159,000

160,900

+400

+0.3%

-1,500

-0.9%

Staunton MSA

49,900

50,100

49,900

-200

-0.4%

+0

+0.0%

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

777,000

777,300

776,900

-300

-0.0%

+100

+0.0%

Winchester,
Virginia/West Virginia MSA

64,300

64,300

62,800

+0

+0.0%

+1,500

+2.4%

*Current month's estimates are preliminary.

Seasonally adjusted total nonfarm employment data is being produced for ten metropolitan areas. In January, five metropolitan areas experienced over-the-month job gains, four metropolitan areas experienced employment losses, and employment in the Winchester MSA was unchanged. The largest absolute job increase occurred in the Northern Virginia metropolitan area, with a gain of 3,100 jobs. The Charlottesville metropolitan area experienced the next largest job gain, with an increase of 800 jobs. The other metropolitan areas that experienced gains were: Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford and Roanoke (+400 jobs each) and Harrisonburg (+200 jobs). The largest absolute job loss occurred in the Richmond metropolitan area, with a decrease of 1,900 jobs. The other metropolitan areas that experienced job losses were Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News (-300 jobs) and Lynchburg and Staunton (-200 jobs each).

Over the year, seasonally adjusted total nonfarm employment increased in seven metropolitan areas, decreased in two metropolitan areas, and remained unchanged in the Staunton metropolitan area. The Northern Virginia metropolitan area experienced the largest absolute job gain, up 28,500 jobs (+2.0 percent). Richmond was ranked second, with a gain of 4,000 jobs (+0.6 percent), and Charlottesville was ranked third, with a gain of 3,300 jobs (+2.8 percent). The remaining metropolitan areas with over-the-year job gains were:  Winchester (+1,500 jobs); Harrisonburg (+500 jobs); Lynchburg (+200 jobs); and Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News (+100 jobs). Over-the-year job losses occurred in the Roanoke (-1,500 jobs) and Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford (-600 jobs) metropolitan areas.

Not Seasonally Adjusted Data

Virginia’s unadjusted unemployment rate was up 0.4 percentage point in January to 3.7 percent, but was down 0.7 percentage point from a year ago. Compared to a year ago, the number of unemployed decreased by 28,509, household employment increased by 57,762, and as a result, the labor force rose by 29,253. Virginia’s not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continues to be below the national unadjusted rate, which was up 0.6 percentage point in January at 4.5 percent.

Compared to last month, the January unadjusted workweek for Virginia’s 171,200 manufacturing production workers decreased by 1.2 hours to 39.8 hours, average hourly earnings increased by $0.01 to $19.77, and average weekly earnings decreased by $23.31 to $786.85. Compared to last January, the unadjusted workweek decreased by 0.8 hour, average hourly earnings increased by $0.22, and average weekly earnings were lower by $6.88.

The statistical reference week for the household survey this month was the week of January 7-13, 2018.

The Virginia Employment Commission plans to release the December local area unemployment rates on Friday, March 16, 2018.  The data will be available on our website, www.VirginiaLMI.com.

The February statewide unemployment rate and employment data for both the state and metropolitan areas are scheduled to be released on Friday, March 23, 2018.

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