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Prince Edward unemployment claims increase by 4%

Statewide initial unemployment claims fell by more than 14% for the week ending May 9, but Prince Edward County went against that improving trend as initial unemployment claims in the county rose for the first time in four weeks.

Prince Edward’s initial claims increased by 4% from 97 the week ending May 7 to 101 this past week. Continuing claims rose for the 10th consecutive week and now stand at 966. That’s up 3% from the previous week. That was on par with the state average as continuing claims in Virginia were up 2.8% over the previous week.

The accommodation and food services sector of the economy has been the hardest hit due to the restrictions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. The sector has 26% of its employees out of work and filing claims. The other services sector, which includes barbers, nail technicians and auto repair works, has 20% of its employees filing for unemployment.

The news was better for workers in Cumberland and Buckingham counties. Initial unemployment claims remained even week over week at 26 but continuing claims actually dropped from 207 to 202. Buckingham’s initial claims dropped by five people week over week from 58 to 53 but continued claims remain on the rise moving up by 29 to 440.

Next week’s numbers will begin to show any effects Virginia’s Phase 1 reopening is having on the local unemployment picture.