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Jobless rate falls 14.9 percent
Rate had been 15.9 in August
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
By DEBBIE HALL - Bulletin Staff Writer
The jobless rate in Martinsville dropped for the second month in a row during September, but it remained the highest in Virginia, according to statistics from the Virginia Employment Commission.
Martinsville’s seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate in September was 14.9 percent, according to data released by the VEC on Tuesday.
That was a decrease from 15.9 percent in August and 17 percent a year ago, data showed.
Although the commission was among the state offices closed Tuesday because of a late-season hurricane, the information posted online showed that Martinsville’s jobless rate is the highest among the 134 localities in Virginia in the statistical reference week of Sept. 9-15.
At 9.4 percent in September, the jobless rate in Henry County declined from 10.1 in August and 11 percent a year ago, data showed.
Patrick County’s rate also dipped to 7.3 percent, down from 8.9 percent in August and 9.2 percent a year ago, according to the VEC.
Fluctuations among the labor force in a particular area — the total number of people who have jobs plus those looking for work — affect monthly jobless rates.
Out of Martinsville’s total labor force of 5,517, a total of 820 people were unemployed in September, VEC data showed.
In Henry County, with a total workforce of 23,949, there are 2,259 jobless, data showed.
Patrick County’s total workforce of 8,979 includes 657 that are without jobs, according to the employment commission.
Part of those increases may be attributed to the four industry divisions which experienced job gains from August to September in the state, according to the VEC.
As public schools and colleges reopened in Virginia, total government employment increased by 27,000 jobs to 707,600, with gains of 16,000 jobs in local government and 11,400 jobs in state government, data showed.
Employment in private education and health services increased by 4,600 jobs to 483,700, with private education up 5,700 jobs this month, according to the VEC. Employment in professional and business services increased by 1,600 jobs to 670,500, as the job gains in administrative and support services, up 2,900 jobs.
Construction employment added 400 jobs to 180,200, following last month’s loss of 600 jobs; and seven industry divisions experienced employment losses over the month, including the leisure and hospitality industry had after-Labor Day cutbacks of 18,200 jobs to a lower fall operating level of 360,100, data showed.
Trade and transportation employment fell by 6,400 jobs to 628,700, with more than two-thirds of the job losses in retail trade. Other losses were 700 jobs in finance to 193,400; 600 jobs in manufacturing to 226,500; 400 jobs in miscellaneous services to 188,900; and 100 jobs each in information and mining to 71,900 and 10,700, respectively, according to the VEC.
Other localities among the five with the highest unemployment included Williamsburg, 12.5 percent; Emporia, 11.1 percent and Franklin, 11 percent, the commission showed.
With September unemployment rates at 10.6 percent, Brunswick County and Lexington tied for the fifth highest position, data showed.
In the Martinsville micropolitan statistical area, the September unemployment rate was 10.4 percent and the August jobless rate was 11.4 percent, according to the VEC.
The September 2011 unemployment rate was 12.1 percent; the five-year annual average was 11.4 and the 10 year annual average was 10.0 percent, data showed.
At 3.5 percent, Arlington County had Virginia’s lowest jobless rate in September followed by 4.0 percent in Loudoun and Fairfax counties, data showed.
The Danville region had the highest unemployment rate among Virginia’s metropolitan regions at 7.9 percent, according to the AP. The Washington metropolitan region that includes Arlington and Alexandria had the lowest jobless rate of 4.2 percent.
Statewide, seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained at 5.6 percent, according to the VEC.
Nationally, the seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate for September was 7.6 percent, a decline from 8.2 percent in August and 8.8 percent a year ago.