For Release:
April 20, 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 March to 3.4 Percent

~ Seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment was up 4,000 jobs between February 2018 and March 2018 ~

RICHMOND—Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was down 0.1 percentage point in March to 3.4 percent and was down 0.5 percentage point from a year ago. March’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 3.4 percent is the lowest rate since the March 2008 rate of 3.4 percent. In March, the labor force expanded by 4,547, which was the second consecutive monthly increase, and at 4,325,379, set a new record high. Household employment increased by 7,249, which was the third consecutive monthly increase, and at 4,178,357, also set a new record high. The number of unemployed continued to drop, declining 2,702 to 147,022. Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continues to be below the national rate, which was unchanged again in March at 4.1 percent.

Virginia’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment increased by 4,000 jobs in March to 3,987,200, which was the third consecutive monthly increase and a new record high. February’s initially reported gain of 20,800 jobs was revised downward by a slight 2,500 jobs to a still very strong over-the-month gain of 18,300 jobs. March’s job gain of 4,000 jobs was not as strong as either January’s (+10,800 jobs) or February’s gain (+18,300 jobs); however, the total gain for the first three months of 2018 was 33,100 jobs. In comparison, the total monthly job gain in 2017 was 20,200. In March, private sector employment increased by 4,000 jobs to 3,271,000, while public sector payrolls remained unchanged at 716,200.

From February 2018 to March 2018, seasonally adjusted employment increased in six major industry divisions, decreased in three, and remained unchanged in two. Seasonally adjusted employment remained unchanged in total government at 716,200 and in mining at 8,200. The largest job gain during March occurred in the private education and health services sector, which increased by 2,200 jobs to 536,000. In March, employment rose by 1,100 jobs each in the private education and in the health care and social assistance sectors. The second largest over-the-month job gain occurred in trade and transportation, which posted an increase of 1,900 jobs to 664,200. Gains occurred in all sectors of trade and transportation: wholesale trade (+1,000 jobs), transportation and warehousing (+600 jobs), and retail trade (+300 jobs). Other employment gains were: 800 jobs in construction to 202,300; 500 jobs in finance to 206,000; 400 jobs in professional and business services to 737,500; and 200 jobs in leisure and hospitality to 405,300. The largest employment loss during March occurred in manufacturing, which fell by 1,000 jobs to 238,300. In February, manufacturing employment posted a revised increase of 2,200 jobs. The other losses occurred in miscellaneous services, which was down 800 jobs to 205,800, and information, which was down 200 jobs to 67,400.

Nonfarm Employment in Virginia*
Seasonally Adjusted

Industry

Employment

February 2018 to
March 2018

March 2017 to
March 2018

March
2018

February
2018

March
2017

Change

% Change

Change

% Change

Total Nonfarm

3,987,200

3,983,200

3,947,700

+4,000

+0.1%

+39,500

+1.0%

Total Private Sector

3,271,000

3,267,000

3,231,500

+4,000

+0.1%

+39,500

+1.2%

Goods-Producing

448,800

449,000

434,900

-200

-0.0%

+13,900

+3.2%

   Mining

8,200

8,200

8,000

+0

+0.0%

+200

+2.5%

   Construction

202,300

201,500

192,800

+800

+0.4%

+9,500

+4.9%

   Manufacturing

238,300

239,300

234,100

-1,000

-0.4%

+4,200

+1.8%

Service-Providing

3,538,400

3,534,200

3,512,800

+4,200

+0.1%

+25,600

+0.7%

  Private Service-Providing

2,822,200

2,818,000

2,796,600

+4,200

+0.1%

+25,600

+0.9%

   Trade, Transportation, and Utilities

664,200

662,300

663,100

+1,900

+0.3%

+1,100

+0.2%

   Information

67,400

67,600

68,300

-200

-0.3%

-900

-1.3%

   Finance

206,000

205,500

204,000

+500

+0.2%

+2,000

+1.0%

   Professional and Business Services

737,500

737,100

725,200

+400

+0.1%

+12,300

+1.7%

   Education and Health Services

536,000

533,800

529,100

+2,200

+0.4%

+6,900

+1.3%

   Leisure and Hospitality Services

405,300

405,100

404,700

+200

+0.0%

+600

+0.1%

   Miscellaneous Services

205,800

206,600

202,200

-800

-0.4%

+3,600

+1.8%

  Government

716,200

716,200

716,200

+0

+0.0%

+0

+0.0%

   Federal Government

177,100

177,200

178,000

-100

-0.1%

-900

-0.5%

   State Government

159,700

159,600

159,500

+100

+0.1%

+200

+0.1%

   Local Government

379,400

379,400

378,700

+0

+0.0%

+700

+0.2%

*Current month's estimates are preliminary.

From March 2017 to March 2018, Virginia’s seasonally adjusted total nonfarm employment was up 39,500 jobs, or 1.0 percent. Over-the-year employment growth in Virginia has been positive for 48 consecutive months, and March’s growth of 1.0 percent was stronger than the previous seven months where growth was below 1.0 percent. In March, the private sector recorded an over-the-year gain of 39,500 jobs, while employment in the public sector remained unchanged. Nationally, total nonfarm employment was up 1.5 percent from a year ago.

Compared to a year ago, on a seasonally adjusted basis, nine of the eleven major industry divisions experienced employment gains, one experienced an employment loss, and total government employment remained unchanged. The largest over-the-year job gain occurred in professional and business services, up 12,300 jobs (+1.7 percent). The next largest over-the-year job gain occurred in construction, up 9,500 jobs (+4.9 percent). Private education and health services experienced the third largest over-the-year job gain, up 6,900 jobs (+1.3 percent). Other gains were in manufacturing, up 4,200 jobs (+1.8 percent); miscellaneous services, up 3,600 jobs (+1.8 percent); finance, up 2,000 jobs (+1.0 percent); trade and transportation, up 1,100 jobs (+0.2 percent); leisure and hospitality, up 600 jobs (+0.1 percent); and mining, up 200 jobs (+2.5 percent). Compared to a-year-ago March, the only job loss occurred in information, down 900 jobs (-1.3 percent).

Total Nonfarm Employment in Virginia*
Seasonally Adjusted

Area

Employment

February 2018 to
March 2018

March 2017 to
March 2018

March
2018

January
2018

March
2017

Change

% Change

Change

% Change

Virginia

3,987,200

3,983,200

3,947,700

+4,000

+0.1%

+39,500

+1.0%

Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford MSA

76,300

76,100

76,600

+200

+0.3%

-300

-0.4%

Charlottesville MSA

119,800

119,500

116,200

+300

+0.3%

+3,600

+3.1%

Harrisonburg MSA

68,300

67,900

67,400

+400

+0.6%

+900

+1.3%

Lynchburg MSA

105,000

105,300

104,100

-300

-0.3%

+900

+0.9%

Northern Virginia MSA

1,479,000

1,481,100

1,455,400

-2,100

-0.1%

+23,600

+1.6%

Richmond MSA

674,400

674,700

671,000

-300

-0.0%

+3,400

+0.5%

Roanoke MSA

160,500

160,200

160,500

+300

+0.2%

-+0

+0.0%

Staunton-Waynesboro MSA

50,500

50,500

49,900

+0

+0.0%

+600

+1.2%

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

780,400

780,300

780,400

+100

+0.0%

+0

+0.0%

Winchester,
Virginia/West Virginia MSA

65,000

65,000

63,100

+0

+0.0%

+1,900

+3.0%

*Current month's estimates are preliminary.

Seasonally adjusted total nonfarm employment data is being produced for ten metropolitan areas. In March, five metropolitan areas experienced over-the-month job gains; three experienced losses; and employment in the Staunton-Waynesboro and Winchester metropolitan areas remained unchanged. The largest absolute job increase occurred in the Harrisonburg metropolitan area, with a gain of 400 jobs. The other metropolitan areas that experienced gains were: Charlottesville and Roanoke (+300 jobs each); Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford (+200 jobs); and Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News (+100 jobs). The largest absolute job decline occurred in Northern Virginia, with a loss of 2,100 jobs. Lynchburg and Richmond were the other two metropolitan areas that experienced losses, declining by 300 jobs each.

Over the year, seasonally adjusted total nonfarm employment increased in seven metropolitan areas; declined by 300 jobs in the Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford metropolitan area; and remained unchanged in the Roanoke and Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News metropolitan areas. The Northern Virginia metropolitan area experienced the largest absolute job gain, up 23,600 jobs (+1.6 percent). Charlottesville was ranked second, with a gain of 3,600 jobs (+3.1 percent), and Richmond was ranked third, with a gain of 3,400 jobs (+0.5 percent). The remaining metropolitan areas with over-the-year job gains were:  Winchester (+1,900 jobs); Lynchburg and Harrisonburg (+900 jobs each); and Staunton-Waynesboro (+600 jobs).

Not Seasonally Adjusted Data

Virginia’s unadjusted unemployment rate was unchanged in March at 3.3 percent, but was down 0.6 percentage point from a year ago. Compared to a year ago, the number of unemployed decreased by 23,723, household employment increased by 64,651, and as a result, the labor force rose by 40,928. Virginia’s not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continues to be below the national unadjusted rate, which was down 0.3 percentage point in March to 4.1 percent.

Compared to last month, the March unadjusted workweek for Virginia’s 171,500 manufacturing production workers decreased by 0.3 hour to 40.2 hours, average hourly earnings increased by $0.25 to $19.93, and average weekly earnings increased by $4.15 to $801.19. Compared to last March, the unadjusted workweek decreased by 0.8 hour, average hourly earnings increased by $0.69, and average weekly earnings were higher by $12.35.

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

The Virginia Employment Commission plans to release the February local area unemployment rates on Wednesday, May 2, 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, May 18, 2018.

Files detailing March's unemployment numbers are available below: