Jobless rate keeps dropping

Published 8:39 am Saturday, January 27, 2024

The jobless rate is dropping, that’s the word across the Commonwealth. On Tuesday, Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced that according to the Virginia Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment rates are dropping.  

“Coming into office, Virginia was bottom third in the nation in job growth, and for our first 22 months we outpaced national job growth trends, rising to third in the nation in job growth, and it wasn’t by accident,” Youngkin said in a statement. “I hope that my Assembly colleagues understand the tone that is set and the policies being pursued directly impact job growth and opportunity for Virginians. Therefore, we must continue to advance bold policy measures as I outlined in our Unleashing Opportunity budget to continue moving the Commonwealth forward. Reducing taxes, lowering the cost of living and cost of doing business for Virginians, strengthening our business-friendly environment and improving pathways from the classroom to the workforce must be our focus. To be clear, if we’re not moving forward, we’re falling behind.” 

According to BLS LAUS, Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in December increased by 0.1 percentage points to 3.0 percent, which is 0.7 percentage points below the national rate. The labor force decreased by 1,763 to 4,623,066; and the number of employed Virginians decreased by 8,395 to 4,484,295 as the number of unemployed residents increased by 6,632 to 138,771.  

‘Numbers call us to double down’ 

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“This month’s job numbers call us to double down on policies that have resulted in employing over 222,000 more Virginians since the turn of the Administration,” said Secretary of Labor Bryan Slater. “249,000 job openings remain today in the Commonwealth, and we are committed to empowering Virginians with the tools they need to seek these opportunities with employers.” 

“Virginia continues to boast the highest labor force participation rate and unemployment levels well below that across the nation,” said Secretary of Commerce Caren Merrick. 

BLS publishes an additional employment figure from its Current Employment Statistics Survey (“CES” or “establishment survey”). The CES survey uses payroll records of establishment employers and is designed to provide a count of jobs under which the employer pays unemployment insurance. The LAUS survey is based on household interviews conducted each month for the Bureau of Labor Statistics and provides comprehensive data on the labor force, including those who are employed and unemployed. Establishment survey data reflects changes for updated seasonal adjustment factors, and industry classification conversions (NAICS), as part of the annual benchmarking process. 

The household survey only distinguishes between whether a person is employed or unemployed, whereas CES counts each employee that is on an employer’s payroll. CES excludes business owners, self-employed persons, unpaid volunteers and private household workers, and those on unpaid leave or not working because of a labor dispute.