Jobless rates dropped slightly in most metro areas in March
Unemployment dropped slightly in most of Virginia metro areas during March, according to the Virginia Employment Commission.
Jobless rates dropped by one-tenth to two-tenths of a percentage point in seven of 11 Virginia metropolitan statistical areas during the month.
The Charlottesville area had the lowest rate, 4.3 percent, while Hampton Roads and the Bristol area had the highest rate, 5.4 percent.
The Danville area, which typically had the highest jobless rate among metro areas, has been reclassified as a micropolitan statistical area. Its March rate was 6.7 percent, ironically the lowest figure among four micropolitan areas listed by the VEC.
Staunton-Waynesboro has taken Danville’s place among Virginia MSAs. Its jobless rate in March was 5 percent.
A rundown of the commonwealth’s metro areas shows:
Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford: 4.9 percent in March, down from 5 percent in February.
Bristol: 5.4 percent, down from 5.5 percent.
Charlottesville: 4.3 percent, down from 4.4 percent.
Hampton Roads: 5.4 percent, down from 5.6 percent.
Harrisonburg: 5 percent, down from 5.1 percent.
Lynchburg: 5.3 percent, down from 5.5 percent.
Richmond: 5.2 percent, unchanged.
Roanoke: 5 percent, unchanged.
Staunton-Waynesboro: 5 percent, unchanged.
Washington area (including Northern Virginia): 4.7 percent, down from 4.8 percent
Winchester: 4.6 percent, unchanged.
In the micropolitan areas:
Big Stone Gap: 9.3 percent, down from 9 percent.
Bluefield: 7.8 percent, down from 8.1 percent.
Danville: 6.7 percent, down from 6.8 percent.
Martinsville: 7.9 percent, down from 8 percent.
In addition to the change in status of the Danville and Staunton-Waynesboro areas, the VEC announced other shifts in Virginia MSAs:
Floyd County has been added to the Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford area.
The Charlottesville MSA has added Buckingham County.
Cumberland, Louisa and King and Queen counties have been deleted from the Richmond area.
Surry County has been dropped from the Hampton Roads MSA.
Culpeper and Rappahannock counties have been added to the Washington (Northern Virginia) MSA.
The VEC said 85.2 percent of Virginia’s population live in its 11 MSAs.