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Some Regions Fully Recovering Jobs, Others at 40%

A map of Virginia displaying different regions of the state. Yellow, Pink, Blue and Green are among a few colors delineating the regions of the Commonwealth.

The job recovery has not spread evenly across the state, although Virginia at large is recovering on track ahead of the US as a whole, according to data from the Virginia Employment Commission released Friday.

The unemployment rate dropped to 4.3% in June according to the latest numbers from the Virginia Employment Commission. Unemployment does not count many of the jobless - like those who stopped looking for employment. Finding childcare is often cited by many of those who are still unemployed, and the state has taken measures to extend childcare subsidies and broaden eligibility.

In a call with reporters, an economist with the Richmond Federal Reserve outlined which areas are getting their workers back. Joe Mengedoth said Winchester is recovering well, and has gained more jobs than it lost during the pandemic. But areas like Charlottesville, Lynchburg and Richmond have recovered only 40 to 45% of their job losses.

Virginia’s gains in June were in government, trade and transport, and construction, but there were losses in leisure and hospitality.

Mengedoth said they’re seeing more employers try to offer benefits to bring workers on, instead of wage increases. That’s things like flexibility, sign-on bonuses, or health benefits. But wages are also up, about 4% since before the pandemic.

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

Jahd Khalil is a reporter and producer in Richmond.
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