Virginia unemployment rates drop to 5.3% in January, 1% below national average


RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia’s unemployment rate for January 2021 was still 2.8% higher than in 2020 but it is on the decline and trending better than national rates. Gov. Ralph Northam says Virginia unemployment rate dropped by 0.3% to 5.3% in January.

Overall, Virginia added 14,100 nonfarm jobs.

The national unemployment rate was listed as 6.3% in January and dropped to 6.2% in February. The Bureau of Labor Statistics ranked Virginia 23rd nationally for the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate.

Northam and other leaders like Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Bell, attribute the decreasing unemployment rate to Virginians getting vaccines and being able to head back to work.

“We are turning the corner, and our Commonwealth is moving forward,” Northam said.

Virginia’s labor force saw a small change in January, decreasing by 1,452. That decrease comes as a result of 7,468 Virginia residents becoming newly employed and the number of unemployed residents decreasing by 8,920. As of January, Virginia has a labor force of 4,253,627 people.

Throughout 2020, the industry to experience the most loss has been leisure and hospitality with 81,600 jobs. Construction was the only industry out of the 11 major ones to not see any job loss.

Before the pandemic hit the state, Virginia had seen employment growth each year for six years in a row.

According to the Virginia Employment Commission, the City of Richmond’s unemployment rate is listed at 6.5% for January 2021. Surrounding counties are fairing better with a rate of 4.3% in Chesterfield, 4.7% in Henrico and 3.5% in Hanover.

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