For Release:
September 17, 2021
Contact:
Timothy Aylor
Senior Economist
Economic Information & Analytics Division
(804) 486-2624

The Virginia unemployment rate fell to 4.0 percent in August while total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 10,500

~ Changes in these measures since April 2020 primarily reflect the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and efforts to contain it. ~

RICHMOND— Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell 0.2 of a percentage point in August to 4.0 percent, which is 3.0 percentage points below the rate from a year ago. According to household survey data in August, the labor force increased by 5,550 to 4,247,321, as the number of unemployed residents decreased by 7,678 to 168,515. The number of employed residents rose by 13,228 to 4,078,806. Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continues to be below the national rate, which fell from 5.4 to 5.2 percent.

Virginia nonagricultural wage and salary employment, from the monthly establishment survey, rose by 10,500 jobs in August to 3,913,200. July’s preliminary estimate was revised upward by 200, adding to that month’s job gain. In August, private sector employment increased by 1,500 jobs to 3,208,700, while public sector payrolls increased by 9,000 jobs to 704,500. Much of the increase within that sector occurred in local government (+6,700 jobs), but employment also rose in state government (+2,400 jobs), while federal government lost 100 jobs.

Employment rose in six of eleven major industry sectors, declined in four, and was unchanged in one. The largest job gain during August occurred in government with an increase of 9,000 jobs to 704,500. The second largest increase occurred in miscellaneous (+4,600 jobs) to 185,500. Leisure and hospitality gained 2,300 jobs, rising to 347,500 in August. Other increases included finance (+1,200 jobs) to 204,000, construction (+600 jobs) to 205,400, and manufacturing (+100 jobs) to 236,700. Mining was unchanged over the month. The largest job loss during August occurred in trade and transportation with a decrease of 3,400 jobs to 653,400. The second largest decrease occurred in professional and business services     (-2,600 jobs) to 773,100. Other decreases included education and health services (-1,100 jobs) to 530,300, and information (-200 jobs) to 65,100.

Nonfarm Employment in Virginia*
Seasonally Adjusted

Industry

Employment

July 2021 to
August 2021

August 2020 to
August 2021

August
2021

July
2021

August
2020

Change

% Change

Change

% Change

Total Nonfarm

3,913,200

3,902,700

3,830,700

10,500

0.3%

82,500

2.2%

Total Private Sector

3,208,700

3,207,200

3,111,300

1,500

0.0%

97,400

3.1%

Goods-Producing

449,800

449,100

438,500

700

0.2%

11,300

2.6%

   Mining

7,700

7,700

6,900

0

0.0%

800

11.6%

   Construction

205,400

204,800

200,000

600

0.3%

5,400

2.7%

   Manufacturing

236,700

236,600

231,600

100

0.0%

5,100

2.2%

Service-Providing

3,463,400

3,453,600

3,392,200

9,800

0.3%

71,200

2.1%

  Private Service-Providing

2,758,900

2,758,100

2,672,800

800

0.0%

86,100

3.2%

   Trade, Transportation, and Utilities

653,400

656,800

636,800

-3,400

-0.5%

16,600

2.6%

   Information

65,100

65,300

64,200

-200

-0.3%

900

1.4%

   Finance

204,000

202,800

208,300

1,200

0.6%

-4,300

-2.1%

   Professional and Business Services

773,100

775,700

752,500

-2,600

-0.3%

20,600

2.7%

   Education and Health Services

530,300

531,400

521,900

-1,100

-0.2%

8,400

1.6%

   Leisure and Hospitality Services

347,500

345,200

310,400

2,300

0.7%

37,100

12.0%

   Miscellaneous Services

185,500

180,900

178,700

4,600

2.5%

6,800

3.8%

  Government

704,500

695,500

719,400

9,000

1.3%

-14,900

-2.1%

   Federal Government

185,900

186,000

191,700

-100

-0.1%

-5,800

-3.0%

   State Government

150,100

147,700

154,200

2,400

1.6%

-4,100

-2.7%

   Local Government

368,500

361,800

373,500

6,700

1.9%

-5,000

-1.3%

*Current month's estimates are preliminary.

From August 2020 to August 2021, the VEC estimates that establishments in Virginia gained 82,500 jobs, an increase of 2.2%. In August, the private sector recorded an over-the-year gain of 97,400 jobs, while employment in the public sector lost 14,900 jobs.

Compared to a year ago, on a seasonally adjusted basis, nine of eleven major industry divisions experienced employment increases. The largest over-the-year job gain occurred in leisure and hospitality, up 37,100 jobs (+12.0%). The next largest over-the-year job gain occurred in professional and business services, up 20,600 jobs (+2.7%). Trade and transportation experienced the third largest over-the-year job gain of 16,600 jobs (+2.6%). Education and health services employment rose by 8,400 jobs (+1.6%). Miscellaneous added 6,800 jobs (+3.8%). Other increases were in construction, up 5,400 jobs (+2.7%); manufacturing, up 5,100 jobs (+2.2%); information, up 900 jobs (+1.4%); and mining, up 800 jobs (11.6%). Government declined by 14,900 jobs (-2.1%). Within government, there were decreases in federal government employment (-5,800 jobs); local government employment (-5,000 jobs); and state government (-4,100 jobs). Finance lost 4,300 jobs (-2.1%) over the year.

Total Nonfarm Employment in Virginia*

Area

Employment

July 2021 to
August 2021

August 2020 to
August 2021

August
2021

July
2021

August
2020

Change

% Change

Change

% Change

Virginia

3,913,200

3,902,700

3,830,700

10,500

0.3%

82,500

2.2%

Blacksburg-Christiansburg-
Radford MSA

76,500

76,400

73,700

100

0.1%

2,800

3.8%

Charlottesville MSA

113,400

114,100

111,300

-700

-0.6%

2,100

1.9%

Harrisonburg MSA

68,300

67,900

66,200

400

0.6%

2,100

3.2%

Lynchburg MSA

99,900

100,800

99,800

-900

-0.9%

100

0.1%

Northern Virginia MSA

1,476,800

1,473,100

1,436,400

3,700

0.3%

40,400

2.8%

Richmond MSA

650,200

652,600

647,300

-2,400

-0.4%

2,900

0.4%

Roanoke MSA

158,800

158,600

154,300

200

0.1%

4,500

2.9%

Staunton-Waynesboro MSA

51,400

51,400

49,300

0

0.0%

2,100

4.3%

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

758,700

760,700

747,300

-2,000

-0.3%

11,400

1.5%

Winchester,
Virginia/West Virginia MSA

67,800

67,300

64,800

500

0.7%

3,000

4.6%

*Current month's estimates are preliminary.

Seasonally adjusted total nonfarm employment data is produced for ten metropolitan areas. In August, five metropolitan areas experienced over-the-month job gains while four experienced job losses and one was unchanged. The largest absolute job increase occurred in Northern Virginia (+3,700 jobs). The next largest absolute job gain occurred in Winchester (+500 jobs). The third largest increase occurred in Harrisonburg (+400 jobs). Blacksburg-Christiansburg Radford added 100 jobs. Staunton-Waynesboro was unchanged. Richmond experienced the largest absolute job loss, down 2,400 jobs, while Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News lost 2,000 jobs.

Over-the-year, seasonally adjusted total nonfarm employment increased in all ten metropolitan areas. The Northern Virginia metropolitan area experienced the largest absolute job gain, up 40,400 jobs (+2.8%). Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News ranked second with a gain of 11,400 jobs (+1.5%). Roanoke ranked third, with a gain of 4,500 jobs (+2.9%). Other over-the-year job gains occurred in Winchester (+3,000 jobs), Richmond (+2,900 jobs), Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford (+2,800 jobs), Charlottesville (+2,100 jobs), Harrisonburg (+2,100 jobs), Staunton-Waynesboro (+2,100 jobs), and Lynchburg (+100 jobs).

Not Seasonally Adjusted Data

Virginia’s unadjusted unemployment rate fell by 0.3 of a percentage point in August to 3.8 percent, and was down 3.3 percentage points from a year ago. Compared to a year ago, the number of unemployed decreased by 150,520, household employment increased by 14,765, and the labor force decreased by 135,755. Virginia’s not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continues to be below the national unadjusted rate, which declined by 0.4 of a percentage point in August to 5.3 percent.

Compared to last month, the August unadjusted workweek for Virginia’s 154,800 manufacturing production workers decreased by 1.9 hours to 39.9 hours. Average hourly earnings of private-sector production workers increased by $.53 to $21.59 in August and average weekly earnings decreased $18.87 to $861.44.

Technical note: Estimates of unemployment and industry employment levels are obtained from two separate monthly surveys. Resident employment and unemployment data are mainly derived from the Virginia portion of the national Current Population Survey (CPS), a household survey conducted each month by the U.S. Census Bureau under contract with BLS, which provides input to the Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) program (often referred to as the “household” survey). Industry employment data is mainly derived from the Current Employment Statistics (CES) survey, a monthly survey of approximately 18,000 Virginia businesses conducted by BLS, which provides estimates of employment, hours, and earnings data broken down by industry for the nation as a whole, all states and most major metropolitan areas (often referred to as the “establishment” survey). Both industry and household estimates are revised each month based on additional information from updated survey reports compiled by the BLS. For national figures and information on how COVID-19 affected collection of the BLS establishment and household surveys in April, refer to the BLS August 2021 Employment Situation press release for details.

The statistical reference week for the household survey this month was the week of August 8-14, 2021.

The Virginia Employment Commission plans to release the April local area unemployment rates on Wednesday, September 29, 2021. The data will be available on our website www.VirginiaWorks.com. The September statewide unemployment rate and employment data for both the state and metropolitan areas are scheduled to be released on Friday, October 22, 2021.


Files detailing August's unemployment numbers are available below: