Virginia’s jobless rate dips to 5.1% as more residents get vaccinated

Virginia’s unemployment rate fell 0.1% to 5.1% in March, down from a peak of 11.3% in April 2020 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the state said on Friday.

The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continues to remain below the national rate of 6.0%.

“Virginia’s unemployment rate is steadily improving and we are making real progress in safely reopening our economy,” Gov. Ralph Northam said.

The state’s non-farm payrolls increased by 800 jobs in March. The labor force rose 1,618 to 4,238,239 last month. The number of unemployed residents fell by 5,051 while the number of employed residents rose by 6,669. Year-over-year, Virginia saw job losses of 4.4%.

“As more and more Virginians receive vaccines, we get closer to ending this pandemic, and our economy becomes stronger,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “Despite a tough year, companies have continued to expand and create new jobs in Virginia thanks to our strong business climate and world-class workforce.”

As of April 16, about 5.1 million residents have received the vaccine. About 3.3 million have received at least one dose bringing the vaccination rate to 38.7% while around 2 million have received both doses for a vaccination rate of 23.5%. Since the pandemic began , the state has seen 643,220 cases with 10,549 deaths reported.

In March, the private sector saw year-over-year job losses of 145,200, while the public sector lost 36,800 jobs.

On a seasonally adjusted basis compared to a year ago, all major industry divisions experienced employment declines. The largest private-sector job losses occurred in leisure and hospitality, which lost 76,600 jobs, a decline of 18.8%.

Year-over-year, government saw a decline of 36,800 jobs while local government employment dropped by 30,700 and state government employment was down 7,400 while the federal government added 1,300 jobs.

“The growing rate of vaccinations gives us confidence that this downward trend will continue in the months ahead,” said Chief Workforce Development Advisor Megan Healy.We will keep working diligently to assist Virginians with job training programs and help them gain employment in a changing, post-pandemic job market.”

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