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For Release:
March 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 Down 0.1 Percentage Point in February to 3.5 Percent

~ Seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment was up 20,800 jobs between January 2018 and February 2018 ~

RICHMOND—Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was down 0.1 percentage point in February to 3.5 percent and was down 0.5 percentage point from a year ago. February’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 3.5 percent is the lowest rate since the April 2008 rate of 3.5 percent. In February, the labor force expanded by 3,950, after declining the previous four months, and at 4,320,994, set a new record high. Household employment increased by 8,189, which was the second consecutive monthly increase, and at 4,171,274, also set a new record high. The number of unemployed continued to drop, declining 4,239 to 149,720. Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continues to be below the national rate, which was unchanged again in February at 4.1 percent.

Virginia’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment increased by 20,800 jobs in February to 3,985,700, which was the second consecutive monthly increase and a new record high. In addition, January’s initially reported gain of 6,000 jobs was revised upward by 4,800 jobs to an over-the-month gain of 10,800 jobs. The three largest upward revisions occurred in professional and business services (+1,700 jobs), construction (+1,300 jobs), and private education and health services (+1,100 jobs). In February, private sector employment increased by 20,000 jobs to 3,269,300, while public sector payrolls increased by 800 jobs to 716,400.

From January 2018 to February 2018, seasonally adjusted employment increased in eight major industry divisions and decreased by 600 jobs in information to 67,300. Seasonally adjusted employment remained unchanged in finance at 205,100 and in mining at 8,200. The largest job gain during February occurred in the leisure and hospitality sector, which increased by 4,900 jobs to 405,400. The second largest over-the-month job gain occurred in trade and transportation, which posted an increase of 4,000 jobs to 664,100. The gains in retail trade (+3,700 jobs) and transportation and warehousing (+500 jobs) outweighed the loss in wholesale trade (-200 jobs). Professional and business services experienced the third largest over-the-month job gain, increasing by 3,900 jobs to 738,900. Job gains occurred in all sectors: administrative and support services (+2,200 jobs); professional, scientific, and technical services (+1,600 jobs); and management of companies (+100 jobs). Other employment gains were: 3,400 jobs in construction to 201,400; 2,600 jobs in manufacturing to 239,700; 1,300 jobs in miscellaneous services to 206,600; 800 jobs in total government to 716,400; and 500 jobs in private education and health services to 532,600. For total government, gains occurred in state (+500 jobs) and local (+300 jobs) government employment.   

Nonfarm Employment in Virginia*
Seasonally Adjusted

Industry

Employment

January 2018 to
February 2018

February 2017 to
February 2018

February
2018

January
2018

February
2017

Change

% Change

Change

% Change

Total Nonfarm

3,985,700

3,964,900

3,949,400

+20,800

+0.5%

+36,300

+0.9%

Total Private Sector

3,269,300

3,249,300

3,232,800

+20,000

+0.6%

+36,500

+1.1%

Goods-Producing

449,300

443,300

435,600

+6,000

+1.4%

+13,700

+3.1%

   Mining

8,200

8,200

7,900

+0

+0.0%

+300

+3.8%

   Construction

201,400

198,000

193,700

+3,400

+1.7%

+7,700

+4.0%

   Manufacturing

239,700

237,100

234,000

+2,600

+1.1%

+5,700

+2.4%

Service-Providing

3,536,400

3,521,600

3,513,800

+14,800

+0.4%

+22,600

+0.6%

  Private Service-Providing

2,820,000

2,806,000

2,797,200

+14,000

+0.5%

+22,800

+0.8%

   Trade, Transportation, and Utilities

664,100

660,100

663,800

+4,000

+0.6%

+300

+0.0%

   Information

67,300

67,900

68,400

-600

-0.9%

-1,100

-1.6%

   Finance

205,100

205,100

203,800

+0

+0.0%

+1,300

+0.6%

   Professional and Business Services

738,900

735,000

724,800

+3,900

+0.5%

+14,100

+1.9%

   Education and Health Services

532,600

532,100

528,700

+500

+0.1%

+3,900

+0.7%

   Leisure and Hospitality Services

405,400

400,500

405,500

+4,900

+1.2%

-100

-0.0%

   Miscellaneous Services

206,600

205,300

202,200

+1,300

+0.6%

+4,400

+2.2%

  Government

716,400

715,600

716,600

+800

+0.1%

-200

-0.0%

   Federal Government

177,300

177,300

178,300

+0

+0.0%

-1,000

-0.6%

   State Government

159,600

159,100

159,400

+500

+0.3%

+200

+0.1%

   Local Government

379,500

379,200

378,900

+300

+0.1%

+600

+0.2%

*Current month's estimates are preliminary.

From February 2017 to February 2018, Virginia’s seasonally adjusted total nonfarm employment was up 36,300 jobs, or 0.9 percent. Over-the-year employment growth in Virginia has been positive for 47 consecutive months, and February’s growth of 0.9 percent was stronger than the previous five months. In February, the private sector recorded an over-the-year gain of 36,500 jobs, while the public sector recorded an over-the-year loss of 200 jobs. Nationally, total nonfarm employment was up 1.6 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 14,100 jobs (+1.9 percent). The next largest over-the-year job gain occurred in construction, up 7,700 jobs (+4.0 percent). Manufacturing experienced the third largest over-the-year job gain, up 5,700 jobs (+2.4 percent). Other gains were in miscellaneous services, up 4,400 jobs (+2.2 percent); private education and health services, up 3,900 jobs (+0.7 percent); finance, up 1,300 jobs (+0.6 percent); and trade and transportation and mining, up 300 jobs each. Compared to a-year-ago February, the largest job loss occurred in information, down 1,100 jobs (-1.6 percent). Minor losses occurred in total government, down 200 jobs, and leisure and hospitality, down 100 jobs. For total government, the loss in federal government employment (-1,000 jobs) outweighed the gains in local (+600 jobs) and state (+200 jobs) government employment.

Total Nonfarm Employment in Virginia*
Seasonally Adjusted

Area

Employment

January 2018 to
February 2018

February 2017 to
February 2018

February
2018

January
2018

February
2017

Change

% Change

Change

% Change

Virginia

3,985,700

3,964,900

3,949,400

+20,800

+0.5%

+36,300

+0.9%

Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford MSA

76,000

76,200

76,500

-200

-0.3%

-500

-0.7%

Charlottesville MSA

119,500

119,000

115,800

+500

+0.4%

+3,700

+3.2%

Harrisonburg MSA

67,800

67,800

67,200

+0

+0.0%

+600

+0.9%

Lynchburg MSA

105,500

104,500

104,300

+1,000

+1.0%

+1,200

+1.2%

Northern Virginia MSA

1,483,600

1,478,900

1,455,000

+4,700

+0.3%

+28,600

+2.0%

Richmond MSA

675,200

670,900

670,700

+4,300

+0.6%

+4,500

+0.7%

Roanoke MSA

160,200

159,600

160,900

+600

+0.4%

-700

-0.4%

Staunton-Waynesboro MSA

50,300

49,900

49,900

+400

+0.8%

+400

+0.8%

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

780,800

778,300

780,500

+2,500

+0.3%

+300

+0.0%

Winchester,
Virginia/West Virginia MSA

64,800

64,300

62,900

+500

+0.8%

+1,900

+3.0%

*Current month's estimates are preliminary.

Seasonally adjusted total nonfarm employment data is being produced for ten metropolitan areas. In February, eight metropolitan areas experienced over-the-month job gains; the Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford metropolitan area experienced an employment loss of 200 jobs; and employment in the Harrisonburg metropolitan area remained unchanged. The largest absolute job increase occurred in the Northern Virginia metropolitan area, with a gain of 4,700 jobs. The Richmond metropolitan area experienced the next largest job gain, with an increase of 4,300 jobs, and the Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News metropolitan area experienced the third largest job gain, with an increase of 2,500 jobs. The other metropolitan areas that experienced gains were: Lynchburg (+1,000 jobs); Roanoke (+600 jobs); Charlottesville and Winchester (+500 jobs each); and Staunton-Waynesboro (+400 jobs).

Over the year, seasonally adjusted total nonfarm employment increased in eight metropolitan areas and decreased in the other two. The Northern Virginia metropolitan area experienced the largest absolute job gain, up 28,600 jobs (+2.0 percent). Richmond was ranked second, with a gain of 4,500 jobs (+0.7 percent), and Charlottesville was ranked third, with a gain of 3,700 jobs (+3.2 percent). The remaining metropolitan areas with over-the-year job gains were:  Winchester (+1,900 jobs); Lynchburg (+1,200 jobs); Harrisonburg (+600 jobs); Staunton-Waynesboro (+400 jobs); and Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News (+300 jobs). Over-the-year job losses occurred in the Roanoke (-700 jobs) and Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford (-500 jobs) metropolitan areas.

Not Seasonally Adjusted Data

Virginia’s unadjusted unemployment rate was down 0.4 percentage point in February to 3.3 percent and was down 0.9 percentage point from a year ago. Compared to a year ago, the number of unemployed decreased by 35,837, household employment increased by 86,908, and as a result, the labor force rose by 51,071. Virginia’s not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continues to be below the national unadjusted rate, which was down 0.1 percentage point in February at 4.4 percent.

Compared to last month, the February unadjusted workweek for Virginia’s 172,600 manufacturing production workers increased by 0.1 hour to 40.4 hours, average hourly earnings were unchanged at $19.98, and average weekly earnings increased by $2.00 to $807.19. Compared to last February, the unadjusted workweek decreased by 0.5 hour, average hourly earnings increased by $0.34, and average weekly earnings were higher by $3.91.

The statistical reference week for the household survey this month was the week of February 11-17, 2018.

The Virginia Employment Commission plans to release the February local area unemployment rates on Wednesday, April 4, 2018.  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 20, 2018.

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