Richmond Times-Dispatch Weekend
5.1% jobless rate is double what it was a year ago.
Virginia’s unemployment rate dropped slightly in March from February as employers in the state added a net gain of about 800 jobs.
The jobless rate in March was 5.1%, down slightly from 5.2% in February and 5.3% in January, the Virginia Employment Commission reported Friday.
The unemployment rate was still double the 2.6% rate in March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic was just starting to affect the job market. Virginia’s jobless rate hit a peak of 11.3% in April 2020, state officials said.
Last month’s unemployment rate in Virginia remained below the national rate of 6%. The rates have been adjusted for seasonal variations.
Payrolls in the state were still down by about 182,000 jobs last month compared with the same month a year ago.
Five of the 11 major industry sectors in Virginia gained jobs from February to March. The largest job gain was in professional and business services, which added 2,300 jobs. Manufacturing added 2,000 jobs, and construction gained 600 jobs.
The largest job loss in March occurred in the trade, transportation and utilities sector, with a decrease of 2,200 jobs.
The leisure and hospitality industry, which has been hit especially hard by business closures and canceled travel during the pandemic, had the second-largest decrease with a loss of 1,300 jobs. Employment in that sector was down nearly 19% last month compared with the same month in 2020.