For Release:
April 19, 2019
Contact:
Conrad Buckler
Economist
Economic Information & Analytics Division
LMI@virginiaworks.gov
(804) 786-8264 or (804) 786-7496

Virginia’s Seasonally Adjusted Unemployment Rate Held Steady in March at 2.9 Percent

~ Seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment was up 8,000 jobs between February 2019 and March 2019 ~

RICHMOND — Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate held steady in March at 2.9 percent. The March 2019 seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for Virginia was down 0.3 percentage point from a year ago. In March, the labor force expanded for the ninth consecutive month by 5,379, or 0.1 percent to set a new record high of 4,360,317, as the number of unemployed increased by 2,089. Household employment increased by 3,290 to set a new high of 4,233,641. Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continues to be below the national rate, which was unchanged at 3.8 percent.

Virginia’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment increased by 8,000 jobs in March to 4,033,600. February’s total nonfarm employment was revised downward 400, contributing to what was already a bad month for job creation. In March, private sector employment increased by 7,200 jobs to 3,309,200, while public sector payrolls increased by 800 jobs to 724,400.

From February 2019 to March 2019, seasonally adjusted employment increased in six major industry divisions, held steady in mining, and decreased in the other four. The largest job gain during March occurred in professional and business services which increased by 5,000 jobs to 759,900. In March, gains were experienced in one subsector: professional, scientific, and technical services (5,700 jobs). Management of companies held steady with zero growth. Administrative and support services decreased by 700 jobs. The second largest over-the-month gain occurred in private education and health services with a gain of 2,800 jobs to 547,400. Other employment gains were: the leisure and hospitality sector 1,100 jobs; 800 jobs in total government; 400 in trade and transportation to 658,800; and 400 jobs in information to 65,000. For total government, gains occurred at: federal government (600 jobs) and state government (500 jobs), with local government decreasing 300 jobs. The largest loss during March occurred in finance, which declined by 1,200 jobs to 205,500. Other employment losses were: construction (-500 jobs) to 198,500; manufacturing (-500 jobs) to 245,700; and miscellaneous services (-300 jobs) to 202,000.

Nonfarm Employment in Virginia*
Seasonally Adjusted

Industry

Employment

February 2019 to
March 2019

March 2018 to
March 2019

March
2019

February
2019

March
2018

Change

% Change

Change

% Change

Total Nonfarm

4,033,600

4,025,600

3,998,100

+8,000

+0.2%

+35,500

+0.9%

Total Private Sector

3,309,200

3,302,000

3,277,000

+7,200

+0.2%

+32,200

+1.0%

Goods-Producing

452,100

453,100

444,400

-1,000

-0.2%

+7,700

+1.7%

   Mining

7,900

7,900

8,000

0

0.0%

-100

-1.3%

   Construction

198,500

199,000

198,000

-500

-0.3%

+500

+0.3%

   Manufacturing

245,700

246,200

238,400

-500

-0.2%

+7,300

+3.1%

Service-Providing

3,581,500

3,572,500

3,553,700

+9,000

+0.3%

+27,800

+0.8%

  Private Service-Providing

2,857,100

2,848,900

2,832,600

+8,200

+0.3%

+24,500

+0.9%

   Trade, Transportation, and Utilities

658,800

658,400

662,000

+400

+0.1%

-3,200

-0.5%

   Information

65,000

64,600

68,000

+400

+0.6%

-3,000

-4.4%

   Finance

205,500

206,700

207,500

-1,200

-0.6%

-2,000

-1.0%

   Professional and Business Services

759,900

754,900

746,300

+5,000

+0.7%

+13,600

+1.8%

   Education and Health Services

547,400

544,600

539,700

+2,800

+0.5%

+7,700

+1.4%

   Leisure and Hospitality Services

418,500

417,400

407,900

+1,100

+0.3%

+10,600

+2.6%

   Miscellaneous Services

202,000

202,300

201,200

-300

-0.1%

+800

+0.4%

  Government

724,400

723,600

721,100

+800

+0.1%

+3,300

+0.5%

   Federal Government

180,400

179,800

178,500

600

+0.3%

+1,900

+1.1%

   State Government

160,800

160,300

160,200

+500

+0.3%

+600

+0.4%

   Local Government

383,200

383,500

382,400

-300

-0.1%

+800

+0.2%

*Current month's estimates are preliminary.

From March 2018 to March 2019, Virginia’s seasonally adjusted total nonfarm employment was up 35,500 jobs, or 0.9 percent. Over-the-year employment growth in Virginia has been positive for 60 consecutive months and has continued to strengthen over the last several months. In March, the private sector recorded an over-the-year gain of 32,200 jobs, while employment in the public sector increased as well by 3,300 jobs.

Compared to a year ago, on a seasonally adjusted basis, seven of the eleven major industry divisions experienced employment gains, while the other four experienced employment losses. The largest over-the-year job gain occurred in professional and business services, up 13,600 jobs (+1.8 percent). The next largest over-the-year job gain occurred in leisure and hospitality, up 10,600 jobs (+2.6 percent). Private education and health services experienced the third largest over-the-year job gain of 7,700 jobs (+1.4 percent). Other gains were in manufacturing, up 7,300 jobs (+3.1 percent); total government was up by 3,300 jobs (+0.5 percent), with gains in federal (1,900 jobs), local (800 jobs), and state government employment (600 jobs); miscellaneous services, up 800 jobs (+0.4 percent); and construction, up 500 jobs (+0.3 percent). The largest job loss was in trade and transportation, down 3,200 jobs (-0.5 percent). The second largest was in information, down 3,000 jobs (-4.4 percent). The other losses were: finance, down 2,000 jobs (-1.0 percent) and mining, down 100 jobs (-1.3 percent).

Total Nonfarm Employment in Virginia*
Seasonally Adjusted

Area

Employment

February 2019 to
March 2019

March 2018 to
March 2019

March
2019

February
2019

March
2018

Change

% Change

Change

% Change

Virginia

4,033,600

4,025,600

3,998,100

+8,000

+0.2%

+35,500

+0.9%

Blacksburg-Christiansburg-
Radford MSA

77,300

76,900

77,600

+400

+0.5%

-300

-0.4%

Charlottesville MSA

119,500

119,200

118,300

+300

+0.3%

+1,200

+1.0%

Harrisonburg MSA

69,000

68,700

68,200

+300

+0.4%

+800

+1.2%

Lynchburg MSA

106,000

105,700

104,800

+300

+0.3%

+1,200

+1.1%

Northern Virginia MSA

1,504,400

1,498,400

1,480,800

+6,000

+0.4%

+23,600

+1.6%

Richmond MSA

681,100

681,700

676,000

-600

-0.1%

+5,100

+0.8%

Roanoke MSA

163,400

162,900

161,100

+500

+0.3%

+2,300

+1.4%

Staunton-Waynesboro MSA

51,600

51,400

50,600

+200

+0.4%

+1,000

+2.0%

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

794,000

792,900

793,400

+1,100

+0.1%

+600

+0.1%

Winchester,
Virginia/West Virginia MSA

65,200

64,900

64,300

+300

+0.5%

+900

+1.4%

*Current month's estimates are preliminary.

Seasonally adjusted total nonfarm employment data is produced for ten metropolitan areas. In March, nine metropolitan areas experienced over-the-month job gains, while one experienced losses. The largest absolute job gain occurred in Northern Virginia (+6,000 jobs). Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, with a gain of 1,100 jobs, had the second largest job gain. The other metropolitan areas that experienced gains were: Roanoke (+500 jobs); Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford (+400 jobs); Charlottesville, Harrisonburg, Lynchburg, and Winchester (+300 jobs each); and Staunton-Waynesboro (+200 jobs). The only job loss occurred in Richmond (-600 jobs).   

Over the year, seasonally adjusted total nonfarm employment increased in nine of the ten metropolitan areas. The Northern Virginia metropolitan area experienced the largest absolute job gain, up 23,600 jobs (+1.6 percent). Richmond was ranked second, with a gain of 5,100 jobs (+0.8 percent), and Roanoke was ranked third, with a gain of 2,300 jobs (+1.4 percent). The other over-the-year job gains occurred in: Charlottesville and Lynchburg (+1,200 jobs each); Staunton-Waynesboro (+1,000 jobs); Winchester (+900 jobs); Harrisonburg (+800 jobs); Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News (+600 jobs).  The only job losses occurred in Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford (-300 jobs).

Not Seasonally Adjusted Data

Virginia’s unadjusted unemployment rate was down 0.2 percentage point in March to 3.0 percent, and was down 0.2 percentage point from a year ago. Compared to a year ago, the number of unemployed decreased by 5,268, household employment increased by 42,784, and the labor force increased by 37,516. Virginia’s not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continues to be below the national unadjusted rate, which was down 0.2 percentage point in March to 3.9 percent.

Compared to last month, the March unadjusted workweek for Virginia’s 170,600 manufacturing production workers decreased by 0.3 hour to 39.4 hours, average hourly earnings decreased by $0.14 to $19.81, and average weekly earnings decreased by $11.51 to $780.51. Compared to last March, the unadjusted workweek decreased by 0.4 hour, average hourly earnings decreased by $0.06, and average weekly earnings were lower by $10.32.

The statistical reference week for the household survey this month was the week of March 10-16, 2019.

The Virginia Employment Commission plans to release the March local area unemployment rates on Wednesday, May 1, 2019.  The data will be available on our website, www.VirginiawLMI.com.

The April statewide unemployment rate and employment data for both the state and metropolitan areas are scheduled to be released on Friday, May 17, 2019.

Files detailing March's unemployment numbers are available below: