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Virginia’s October Economic Stats Offer Optimism

RICHMOND – Virginia’s labor force increased by 1,162 in October, keeping the number of Virginia’s employed at more than 4.3 million.

The numbers from the Bureau of Labor and Statistic’s Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) show the commonwealth’s labor force is at 4,348,072. Since the start of the year, the number of Virginians employed has risen by 92,673. However, the state’s unemployment rate was up 0.1 percent to 2.7, thanks to an increase of 3,665 unemployed residents. Still, the 2.7 rate is one full percentage point less than the national rate.

“We continue to see economic indicators at the state level and nationally delivering mixed messages, but we should be encouraged by the slight pickup in establishment jobs in October,” Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin said in a press release. “We must remain vigilant in creating the environment for businesses to start, invest and grow in the commonwealth and get more Virginians off the sidelines and into the workforce.”

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics also compiles numbers from its Current Employment Statistics Survey (“CES” or “establishment survey”). That showed employment in the state rose by 6,900 jobs in October to 4,101,000. The difference in the two surveys is the CES utilizes payroll records of establishment employers, and the LAUS survey is based on household interviews.

“The commonwealth continues to add establishment jobs month after month, and our unemployment rate remains low – a full percentage point lower than nationwide in October,” Bryan Slater, the state’s Secretary of Labor, added in the release. “In this environment, Virginia offers great opportunities for its citizens to succeed in a career, regardless of skill level or background.”

Bill Holloran, senior business adviser at Hampton Roads Small Business Development Center, sees positive employment trends.

I think right now it is getting incrementally easier because the economy is softening,” he said. “It was becoming very difficult to hire employees, not impossible, but it was much, much more competitive.”

He expects it to remain so, even if there is a mild recession.

From October 2021 to October 2022, only one of 11 major industry divisions – finance – experienced a decline in employment. Topping the year-over-year increase was education and health services (34,700 jobs/an increase of 6.5 percent), followed by leisure and hospitality (31,500 jobs/8.4 percent), and professional and business services (20,300 jobs/2.6 percent). Finance suffered a decrease of 3,500 jobs.

For more details, visit the Virginia Employment Commission’s website at vec.virginia.gov.

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