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Unemployment Claims Down Slightly

Jahd Khalil

37,790 Virginians applied for unemployment again in a continuing claim, and 6,825 made an initial claim in the week ending July 3rd, according to numbers released by the Virginia Employment Commission Thursday.

Industries like retail, healthcare and social assistance, and food service are still seeing the most claims, the VEC said in the release. Part of that is they have the deepest losses to recover from.

“Obviously the high touch in-person sectors took the hardest, hit leisure and hospitality as a sector by far leading the losses in COVID,” said Renee Haltom, the regional executive for the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. Haltom speaks with business and community leaders to hear how they are experiencing the economy.

“What businesses seem most optimistic about is that demand is basically back,” she said. “The number one concern I'd probably say is challenges finding workers.

Haltom says that Virginia’s diverse economy has insulated it from much of the most intense, industry-specific downturns, so lower-growth numbers in Virginia, when compared to other states, might be misleading.

“We didn't lose as great of a share of jobs in Virginia, but the flip side is that we haven't recovered as quickly, in the sense that our job growth has been somewhat under the nation.”

Much of that job growth is just recovering all the lost jobs: Virginia’s at about 95% of pre-COVID employment.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

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