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Unemployment claims begin to stabilize

After 10 weeks of soaring unemployment rates as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, unemployment rates began leveling out across Virginia and the local area.

State numbers for the week ending May 23 showed continuing claims in Prince Edward County rising by only two claims from 966 to 968. Initial claims for Prince Edward fell to 77 from 101 the week before. The 77 initial claims is the lowest weekly total since the pandemic began.

The job market was undoubtedly helped by the reopening of many area businesses Friday, May 15, but still, almost 1,000 of the county’s approximate labor force of 10,500 workers remain unemployed.

Continued unemployment claims in Buckingham County continued to climb from 440 to 454 with initial claims falling from 53 to 38. Buckingham County’s total labor force is approximately 6,600 workers. Cumberland County’s continued claims rose from 202 to 280 with initial claims rising by one from 26 to 27 claims. Cumberland County has a workforce of approximately 4,700 workers.

Overall, continued claims were down 631 from the previous week but a startling 384,563 higher than the comparable week in 2019. Virginia’s initial claims decreased by 5,457 or 12.2%.