Metro-area jobless rates see uptick in August
Unemployment remained low but rose slightly in most of Virginia’s metro areas in August.
The Virginia Employment Commission reported Wednesday that jobless rates saw an uptick in nine of 11 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) during the month.
Rates remained unchanged from July in two metro areas, the New River Valley and Lynchburg.
In MSAs where jobless rates rose, the increases ranged from one-tenth to two-tenths of a percentage point.
All of the metro-area unemployment rates were under 3.6 percent in August. Figures were below 3 percent in four areas, Northern Virginia, Charlottesville, Staunton-Waynesboro and Winchester.
Northern Virginia recorded the lowest jobless rate among the MSAs, 2.6 percent, while Lynchburg had the highest, 3.5 percent.
The VEC’s local unemployment numbers are not seasonally adjusted, meaning they don’t reflect seasonal changes in the labor market.
Using that statistical standard, Virginia’s unemployment rate for August was 3.1 percent, up from 2.9 percent in July. In August 2017, the state rate was 3.9 percent.
Similarly, the national unemployment rate for August was 3.9 percent, down from 4.1 percent in July. The U.S. rate was 4.5 percent in August last year.
A breakdown of metro- area numbers shows:
Bristol: 3.4 percent in August, up from 3.3 percent in July.
Charlottesville: 2.9 percent, up from 2.7 percent.
Hampton Roads: 3.4 percent, up from 3.2 percent.
Harrisonburg: 3.1 percent, up from 3 percent.
Lynchburg: 3.5 percent, unchanged.
New River Valley: 3.3 percent, unchanged.
Northern Virginia: 2.6 percent, up from 2.4 percent.
Richmond: 3.2 percent, up from 3.1 percent.
Roanoke: 3.1 percent, up from 2.9 percent.
Staunton-Waynesboro: 2.9 percent, up from 2.7 percent.
Winchester: 2.7 percent, up from 2.5 percent.
Arlington County continued to be the Virginia locality with the lowest unemployment rate, 2.1 percent in August.
It was followed by Highland County at 2.2 percent. Alexandria and Falls Church were next at 2.3 percent.
Petersburg had the highest jobless rate in August, 6 percent, followed by Buchanan County at 5.8 percent and Danville and Dickenson County, both at 5.3 percent.