RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia’s labor force saw an overall increase in the total number of people employed during the month of May, according to the Virginia Employment Commission.
Gov. Ralph Northam announced on Wednesday that Virginia’s unemployment rate dropped 0.2-percentage point to 4.5 percent in May, which is 4% lower than one year ago. Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remains below the national rate of 5.8 percent.
“More people are working in Virginia and our recovery is outpacing the rest of the country,” said Governor Northam. “This week, we reached the 70 percent vaccination benchmark, and we did it two weeks ahead of the nationwide July 4 target. In the weeks and months ahead, we will remain focused on helping the communities that COVID-19 hit hardest and making sure all Virginians have the resources they need to thrive.”
The number of employed residents rose by 12,103 to 4,040,585. Unemployment, meanwhile, decreased by 8,061.
Virginia also saw a over-the-year job gains of 7.0 percent.
“Virginia’s unemployment rate continues to drop and more people are returning to the workforce—two important indications about the strength of our economy,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “It’s vitally important that every Virginian does their civic duty and gets vaccinated so we can maintain this positive momentum.”
The private sector recorded an over-the-year gain of 256,900 jobs, while employment in the public sector lost 1,600 jobs in May.
Records show that the largest over-the-year job increase occurred in leisure and hospitality, where upwards of 104,600 jobs were added. Trade, transportation, utilities, education and healthcare fields also all saw a dramatic increase.
“With over 4.2 million Virginians fully vaccinated, we are reaching what looks like the final stages of this pandemic,” said Chief Workforce Development Advisor Megan Healy. “Our Administration is committed to helping Virginians return to work and make sure that they have the skills and support they need to thrive in the post-pandemic job market.”
Among southern states, Virginia has the third lowest seasonally adjusted unemployment rate – tied with Kentucky. Alabama and Georgia both had lower unemployment rates.