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Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced on June 23 that the commonwealth’s unemployment rate dropped .2-percentage points to 4.5 percent in May, which is 4 percent points below the rate from a year ago. Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remains below the national rate of 5.8 percent.
Governor Northam pointed to the high percentage of covid-19 vaccinations in Virginia as part of the reason for the low unemployment rate.
“More people are working in Virginia, and our recovery is outpacing the rest of the country,” the governor said in a statement. “This week, we reached the 70 percent vaccination benchmark, and we did it two weeks ahead of the nationwide July 4 target. In the weeks and months ahead, we will remain focused on helping the communities that covid-19 hit hardest, and making sure all Virginians have the resources they need to thrive.”
In May, total nonfarm payroll employment decreased by 3,500 jobs. In addition, the labor force increased by 4,042 to 4,229,852, as the number of unemployed residents decreased by 8,061. The number of employed residents rose by 12,103 to 4,040,585. Virginia also saw over-the-year job gains of 7.0 percent last month.
“Virginia’s unemployment rate continues to drop and more people are returning to the workforce—two important indications about the strength of our economy,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “It’s vitally important that every Virginian does their civic duty, and gets vaccinated so we can maintain this positive momentum.”