For Release:
November 19, 2021
Contact:
Timothy Aylor
Senior Economist
Economic Information & Analytics Division
(804) 486-2624

The Virginia unemployment rate fell to 3.6 percent in October while total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 19,400

~ 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 October to 3.6 percent, which is 2.5 percentage points below the rate from a year ago. According to household survey data in October, the labor force increased by 5,918 to 4,256,634, as the number of unemployed residents decreased by 7,566 to 154,126. The number of employed residents rose by 13,484 to 4,102,508. Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continues to be below the national rate, which fell from 4.8 to 4.6 percent. The Commonwealth’s labor force participation rate rose slightly from 62.9% to 63.0% and was above the national rate of 61.6 percent. The labor force participation rate measures the proportion of the civilian population age 16 and older that is employed or actively looking for work.

Virginia nonagricultural wage and salary employment, from the monthly establishment survey, rose by 19,400 jobs in October to 3,957,700. September’s preliminary estimate was revised upward by 9,300, adding to that month’s job gain. In October, private sector employment increased by 13,500 jobs to 3,237,900 while public sector payrolls increased by 5,900 jobs to 719,800. Much of the increase within that sector occurred in state government (+6,000 jobs), but employment also rose in local government          (+300 jobs), while federal government lost 400 jobs.

Employment rose in eight of eleven major industry sectors, declined in one, and was unchanged in two. The largest job gain during October occurred in leisure and hospitality with an increase of 7,200 jobs to 357,800. The second largest increase occurred in government (+5,900 jobs) to 719,800. Trade and transportation gained 3,300 jobs, rising to 657,700 in October. Other increases included professional and business services (+2,800 jobs) to 783,800, other services (+2,000 jobs) to 184,200, education and health services (+800 jobs) to 535,700, information (+800 jobs) to 66,900, and mining (+100 jobs) to 7,800 jobs. Construction was unchanged over the month at 204,800. At 203,900 jobs, finance was also unchanged over the month. The only job loss during October occurred in manufacturing, with a decrease of 3,500 jobs to 235,300.

Nonfarm Employment in Virginia*
Seasonally Adjusted

Industry

Employment

September 2021 to
October 2021

October 2020 to
October 2021

October
2021

September
2021

October
2020

Change

% Change

Change

% Change

Total Nonfarm

3,957,700

3,938,300

3,878,200

19,400

0.5%

79,500

2.0%

Total Private Sector

3,237,900

3,224,400

3,168,100

13,500

0.4%

69,800

2.2%

Goods-Producing

447,900

451,300

444,900

-3,400

-0.8%

3,000

0.7%

   Mining

7,800

7,700

6,900

100

1.3%

900

13.0%

   Construction

204,800

204,800

203,400

0

0.0%

1,400

0.7%

   Manufacturing

235,300

238,800

234,600

-3,500

-1.5%

700

0.3%

Service-Providing

3,509,800

3,487,000

3,433,300

22,800

0.7%

76,500

2.2%

  Private Service-Providing

2,790,000

2,773,100

2,723,200

16,900

0.6%

66,800

2.5%

   Trade, Transportation, and Utilities

657,700

654,400

648,700

3,300

0.5%

9,000

1.4%

   Information

66,900

66,100

65,800

800

1.2%

1,100

1.7%

   Finance

203,900

203,900

207,300

0

0.0%

-3,400

-1.6%

   Professional and Business Services

783,800

781,000

759,300

2,800

0.4%

24,500

3.2%

   Education and Health Services

535,700

534,900

529,400

800

0.1%

6,300

1.2%

   Leisure and Hospitality Services

357,800

350,600

332,600

7,200

2.1%

25,200

7.6%

   Miscellaneous Services

184,200

182,200

180,100

2,000

1.1%

4,100

2.3%

  Government

719,800

713,900

710,100

5,900

0.8%

9,700

1.4%

   Federal Government

185,800

186,200

188,200

-400

-0.2%

-2,400

-1.3%

   State Government

158,100

152,100

157,200

6,000

3.9%

900

0.6%

   Local Government

375,900

375,600

364,700

300

0.1%

11,200

3.1%

*Current month's estimates are preliminary.

From October 2020 to October 2021, the VEC estimates that establishments in Virginia gained 79,500 jobs, an increase of two percent. In October, the private sector recorded an over-the-year gain of 69,800 jobs, while employment in the public sector gained 9,700 jobs.

Compared to a year ago, on a seasonally adjusted basis, ten of eleven major industry divisions experienced employment increases. The largest over-the-year job gain occurred in leisure and hospitality, up 25,200 jobs (+7.6%). The next largest over-the-year job gain occurred in professional and business services, up 24,500 jobs (+3.2%). Government experienced the third largest over-the-year job gain of 9,700 jobs (+1.4%). Within government, there were increases in local government employment (+11,200 jobs) and state government employment (+900 jobs) while federal government declined by 2,400 jobs over the year. Trade and transportation gained 9,000 jobs (+1.4%) while education and health services employment rose by 6,300 jobs (+1.2%). Miscellaneous added 4,100 jobs (+2.3%). Other increases were in construction, up 1,400 jobs (+0.7%); information, up 1,100 jobs (+1.7%); mining, up 900 jobs (+13.0%); and manufacturing, up 700 jobs (0.3%). Finance declined by 3,400 jobs (-1.6%).

Total Nonfarm Employment in Virginia*

Area

Employment

September 2021 to
October 2021

October 2020 to
October 2021

October
2021

September
2021

October
2020

Change

% Change

Change

% Change

Virginia

3,957,700

3,938,300

3,878,200

19,400

0.5%

79,500

2.0%

Blacksburg-Christiansburg-
Radford MSA

78,400

77,700

74,100

700

0.9%

4,300

5.8%

Charlottesville MSA

113,800

112,800

110,900

1,000

0.9%

2,900

2.6%

Harrisonburg MSA

68,600

68,400

65,900

200

0.3%

2,700

4.1%

Lynchburg MSA

101,600

100,500

100,600

1,100

1.1%

1,000

1.0%

Northern Virginia MSA

1,501,800

1,495,300

1,452,100

6,500

0.4%

49,700

3.4%

Richmond MSA

649,300

648,400

648,900

900

0.1%

400

0.1%

Roanoke MSA

157,800

157,800

154,900

0

0.0%

2,900

1.9%

Staunton-Waynesboro MSA

51,800

51,700

50,700

100

0.2%

1,100

2.2%

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

765,300

762,900

764,500

2,400

0.3%

800

0.1%

Winchester,
Virginia/West Virginia MSA

67,500

67,100

65,300

400

0.6%

2,200

3.4%

*Current month's estimates are preliminary.

Seasonally adjusted total nonfarm employment data is produced for ten metropolitan areas. In October, nine metropolitan areas experienced over-the-month job gains while one was unchanged. The largest absolute job increase occurred in Northern Virginia (+6,500 jobs). The next largest absolute job gain occurred in Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News (+2,400 jobs). The third largest increase occurred in Lynchburg (+1,100 jobs). Charlottesville added 1,000 jobs. Other over-the-month job gains occurred in Richmond (+900 jobs), Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford (+700 jobs), Winchester (+400 jobs), Harrisonburg (+200 jobs), and Staunton-Waynesboro (+100 jobs). Roanoke was unchanged over-the-month.

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 49,700 jobs (+3.4%). Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford ranked second with a gain of 4,300 jobs (+5.8%). Charlottesville and Roanoke ranked third, with a gain of 2,900 jobs each (+2.6% and +1.9%, respectively). Other over-the-year job gains occurred in Harrisonburg (+2,700 jobs), Winchester (+2,200 jobs), Staunton-Waynesboro (+1,100 jobs), Lynchburg (+1,000 jobs), Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News (+800 jobs), and Richmond (+400 jobs).

Not Seasonally Adjusted Data

Virginia’s unadjusted unemployment rate fell by 0.2 of a percentage point in October to 3.0 percent, and was down 2.7 percentage points from a year ago. Compared to a year ago, the number of unemployed decreased by 116,658, household employment increased by 105,105, and the labor force decreased by 11,553. Virginia’s not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continues to be below the national unadjusted rate, which declined by 0.3 of a percentage point in October to 4.3 percent.

Compared to last month, the October unadjusted workweek for Virginia’s 152,800 manufacturing production workers increased by 0.3 hours to 41.6 hours. Average hourly earnings of private-sector production workers increased by $.27 to $21.19 in October and average weekly earnings increased $17.50 to $881.50.

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 October 2021 Employment Situation press release for details.

The statistical reference week for the household survey this month was the week of October 10-16, 2021.

The Virginia Employment Commission plans to release the October local area unemployment rates on Thursday, December 2, 2021. The data will be available on our website www.VirginiaWorks.com. The November statewide unemployment rate and employment data for both the state and metropolitan areas are scheduled to be released on Friday, December 17, 2021.


Files detailing October's unemployment numbers are available below: