Virginia Unemployment Dips, But Some are Leaving the Workforce

Nov 20, 2020

Virginia's unemployment rate is down a bit, according to the latest data from the federal government.

Virginia's unemployment rate is at 5.3 percent. That's about two and a half points higher than last year at this time. But that was an extremely low number. And the latest unemployment number is actually down about a point compared to last month.

Terry Clower at George Mason University says Virginia is seeing net job creation. But, he adds, people are also leaving the workforce.  "Almost half of that decline that we've seen in unemployment is explained because there are fewer people participating in the workforce and some of that are discouraged workers that simply, in their last reporting period, have given up looking for jobs."

Adam Blandin at Virginia Commonwealth University says Virginia's continued decline in the unemployment rate is largely coming from a drop in labor force participation. "In Virginia, the employment rate has essentially stalled despite the unemployment rate going down, which is not the case nationally where employment has continued to go up over the last several months."

So the good news is that the unemployment rate is lower than the national average. But the bad news is one of the reasons for that is because labor force participation is falling.

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