A Closer Look at Virginia's Unemployment Rate

Dec 2, 2019

Credit MBandman / Creative Commons

Virginia’s unemployment rate is low - and it keeps dropping. For more than a year the state has been adding jobs, and for three months now the unemployment rate has declined.

Here’s the bottom line: Virginia’s labor market is strong – says Terry Rephann, an economist at UVA’s Weldon Cooper Center.

“By and large people that want jobs, have them now,” he says.

Which means the next step for folks is to trade up.

“They would like to move into higher paid jobs, to climb the job ladder,” Rephann explains.

But there’s still more to understand about the unemployment rate – which in Virginia is at 2.6%.

That number is dropping not just because people are getting jobs, but also because folks are dropping out of the workforce altogether.

But unlike in 2013 and 14 – when people were dropping out of the workforce because they were giving up. Now people are dropping out for an entirely different reason.

“You know you’ve got this baby boomer bubble that’s moving into retirement,” says Rephann.

And that – Rephann adds – means all these newly employed people are working to support Social Security and pensions for retiring boomers.