For Release:
June 15, 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 May to 3.2 Percent

~ Seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment was up 6,200 jobs between April 2018 and May 2018 ~

RICHMOND—Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was down 0.1 percentage point in May to 3.2 percent and was down 0.6 percentage point from a year ago. May’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 3.2 percent is the lowest rate since the October 2007 rate of 3.2 percent. In May, the labor force expanded by 7,656, which was the fourth consecutive monthly increase, and at 4,338,619, set a new record high. Household employment increased by 11,549, which was the fifth consecutive monthly increase, and at 4,198,554, also set a new record high. The number of unemployed continued to drop, declining by 3,893 to 140,065. Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continues to be below the national rate, which was down 0.1 percentage point in May to 3.8 percent.

Virginia’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment increased by 6,200 jobs in May to 4,000,500, which was the fifth consecutive monthly increase and a new record high. April’s initially reported gain of 4,700 jobs was revised upward by 600 jobs to an over-the-month gain of 5,300 jobs. In May, private sector employment increased by 6,400 jobs to 3,285,300, while public sector payrolls declined by 200 jobs to 715,200.

From April 2018 to May 2018, seasonally adjusted employment increased in six major industry divisions, decreased in another three, and was unchanged in construction and mining at 200,800 and 8,200, respectively. The largest job gain during May occurred in the trade and transportation sector. Employment in this sector increased by 3,900 jobs to 671,200 and set a record high that surpassed the pre-recession peak of 669,100 in March 2007. In May, all subsectors in the trade and transportation sector experienced job gains: retail trade (+2,500 jobs), wholesale trade (+800 jobs), and transportation and warehousing (+600 jobs). The second largest over-the-month gain occurred in leisure and hospitality, with a gain of 1,500 jobs to 407,100. The finance sector experienced the third largest over-the-month gain, increasing by 1,000 jobs to 208,300. Other employment gains were: 700 jobs each in private education and health services and in miscellaneous services to 539,200 and 206,200, respectively; and 500 jobs in information to 67,800. The largest job loss during May occurred in professional and business services. Employment in this sector fell by 1,300 jobs to 738,000, after increasing by a total of 9,300 jobs the previous four months. The other two employment losses were: 600 jobs in manufacturing to 238,500 and 200 jobs in total government to 715,200. For total government, the loss in federal government employment (-600 jobs) outweighed the gains in local (+300 jobs) and state (+100 jobs) government employment.  

Nonfarm Employment in Virginia*
Seasonally Adjusted

Industry

Employment

April 2018 to
May 2018

May 2017 to
May 2018

May
2018

April
2018

May
2017

Change

% Change

Change

% Change

Total Nonfarm

4,000,500

3,994,300

3,947,500

+6,200

+0.2%

+53,000

+1.3%

Total Private Sector

3,285,300

3,278,900

3,230,700

+6,400

+0.2%

+54,600

+1.7%

Goods-Producing

447,500

448,100

434,800

-600

-0.1%

+12,700

+2.9%

   Mining

8,200

8,200

8,000

+0

+0.0%

+200

+2.5%

   Construction

200,800

200,800

192,800

+0

+0.0%

+8,000

+4.1%

   Manufacturing

238,500

239,100

234,000

-600

-0.3%

+4,500

+1.9%

Service-Providing

3,553,000

3,546,200

3,512,700

+6,800

+0.2%

+40,300

+1.1%

  Private Service-Providing

2,837,800

2,830,800

2,795,900

+7,000

+0.2%

+41,900

+1.5%

   Trade, Transportation, and Utilities

671,200

667,300

661,900

+3,900

+0.6%

+9,300

+1.4%

   Information

67,800

67,300

68,000

+500

+0.7%

-200

-0.3%

   Finance

208,300

207,300

205,000

+1,000

+0.5%

+3,300

+1.6%

   Professional and Business Services

738,000

739,300

728,000

-1,300

-0.2%

+10,000

+1.4%

   Education and Health Services

539,200

538,500

528,800

+700

+0.1%

+10,400

+2.0%

   Leisure and Hospitality Services

407,100

405,600

402,300

+1,500

+0.4%

+4,800

+1.2%

   Miscellaneous Services

206,200

205,500

201,900

+700

+0.3%

+4,300

+2.1%

  Government

715,200

715,400

716,800

-200

-0.0%

-1,600

-0.2%

   Federal Government

176,800

177,400

177,900

-600

-0.3%

-1,100

-0.6%

   State Government

159,900

159,800

160,800

+100

+0.1%

-900

-0.6%

   Local Government

378,500

378,200

378,100

+300

+0.1%

+400

+0.1%

*Current month's estimates are preliminary.

From May 2017 to May 2018, Virginia’s seasonally adjusted total nonfarm employment was up 53,000 jobs, or 1.3 percent. Over-the-year employment growth in Virginia has been positive for 50 consecutive months, and over the last several months, growth has continued to strengthen. In May, the private sector recorded an over-the-year gain of 54,600 jobs, while employment in the public sector declined by 1,600 jobs. Nationally, total nonfarm employment was up 1.6 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, while the other two experienced employment losses. The largest over-the-year job gain occurred in private education and health services, up 10,400 jobs (+2.0 percent). The next largest over-the-year job gain occurred in professional and business services, up 10,000 jobs (+1.4 percent). Trade and transportation experienced the third largest over-the-year job gain, up 9,300 jobs (+1.4 percent). Other gains were in construction, up 8,000 jobs (+4.1 percent); leisure and hospitality, up 4,800 jobs (+1.2 percent); manufacturing, up 4,500 jobs (+1.9 percent); miscellaneous services, up 4,300 jobs (+2.1 percent); finance, up 3,300 jobs (+1.6 percent); and mining, up 200 jobs (+2.5 percent). Compared to a-year-ago May, total government fell by 1,600 jobs (-0.2 percent), with the losses in federal (-1,100 jobs) and state (-900 jobs) government employment outweighing the gain in local government employment (+400 jobs). In addition, employment in information was down 200 jobs (-0.3 percent).

Total Nonfarm Employment in Virginia*
Seasonally Adjusted

Area

Employment

April 2018 to
May 2018

May 2017 to
May 2018

May
2018

April
2018

May
2017

Change

% Change

Change

% Change

Virginia

4,000,500

3,994,300

3,947,500

+6,200

+0.2%

+53,000

+1.3%

Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford MSA

77,000

76,400

76,700

+600

+0.8%

+300

+0.4%

Charlottesville MSA

119,800

119,600

116,600

+200

+0.2%

+3,200

+2.7%

Harrisonburg MSA

68,500

68,300

67,300

+200

+0.3%

+1,200

+1.8%

Lynchburg MSA

105,600

105,500

103,200

+100

+0.1%

+2,400

+2.3%

Northern Virginia MSA

1,482,100

1,477,700

1,457,100

+4,400

+0.3%

+25,000

+1.7%

Richmond MSA

679,200

676,900

671,200

+2,300

+0.3%

+8,000

+1.2%

Roanoke MSA

161,400

161,300

160,200

+100

+0.1%

+1,200

+0.7%

Staunton-Waynesboro MSA

50,500

50,500

49,800

+0

+0.0%

+700

+1.4%

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

784,200

782,500

780,400

+1,700

+0.2%

+3,800

+0.5%

Winchester, Virginia/West Virginia MSA

65,200

65,100

63,400

+100

+0.2%

+1,800

+2.8%

*Current month's estimates are preliminary.

Seasonally adjusted total nonfarm employment data is being produced for ten metropolitan areas. In May, nine metropolitan areas experienced over-the-month job gains, and employment in the Staunton-Waynesboro metropolitan area remained unchanged. The largest absolute job gain occurred in Northern Virginia, with a gain of 4,400 jobs. The other metropolitan areas that experienced gains were: Richmond (+2,300 jobs); Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News (+1,700 jobs); Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford (+600 jobs); Charlottesville and Harrisonburg (+200 jobs each); and Lynchburg, Roanoke, and Winchester (+100 jobs each).

Over the year, seasonally adjusted total nonfarm employment increased in all metropolitan areas. The Northern Virginia metropolitan area experienced the largest absolute job gain, up 25,000 jobs (+1.7 percent). Richmond was ranked second, with a gain of 8,000 jobs (+1.2 percent), and Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News was ranked third, with a gain of 3,800 jobs (+0.5 percent). The other over-the-year job gains occurred in:  Charlottesville (+3,200 jobs); Lynchburg (+2,400 jobs); Winchester (+1,800 jobs); Harrisonburg and Roanoke (+1,200 jobs each); Staunton-Waynesboro (+700 jobs); and Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford (+300 jobs).

Not Seasonally Adjusted Data

Virginia’s unadjusted unemployment rate was up 0.1 percentage point in May to 2.9 percent, but was down 0.8 percentage point from a year ago. Compared to a year ago, the number of unemployed decreased by 32,444, household employment increased by 86,120, and as a result, the labor force rose by 53,676. Virginia’s not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continues to be below the national unadjusted rate, which was down 0.1 percentage point in May to 3.6 percent.

Compared to last month, the May unadjusted workweek for Virginia’s 171,600 manufacturing production workers decreased by 0.2 hour to 41.0 hours, average hourly earnings decreased by $0.06 to $19.64, and average weekly earnings decreased by $6.40 to $805.24. Compared to last May, the unadjusted workweek increased by 0.3 hour, average hourly earnings increased by $0.49, and average weekly earnings were higher by $25.83.

The statistical reference week for the household survey this month was the week of May 6-12, 2018.

The Virginia Employment Commission plans to release the May local area unemployment rates on Wednesday, June 27, 2018. The data will be available on our website, www.VirginiaLMI.com.

The June statewide unemployment rate and employment data for both the state and metropolitan areas are scheduled to be released on Friday, July 20, 2018.

Files detailing May's unemployment numbers will be posted below when available: