Martinsville Bulletin, Inc.
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Martinsville, Virginia 24115
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Jobless rate up; city still tops list
Wednesday, January 8, 2014
Martinsville continued to have the highest level of unemployment among localities statewide in November as its jobless rate increased by 1.3 percent, Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) figures released Tuesday show.
Unemployment in Henry and Patrick counties declined.
In Martinsville, the jobless rate rose from 12.4 percent in October to 13.7 percent in November as the number of city residents seeking work climbed from 655 to 728, VEC statistics show.
Henry County’s unemployment rate declined by 0.5 percent, from 7.9 percent in October to 7.4 percent in November. The number of county residents seeking jobs dropped from 1,860 to 1,730, figures show.
The combined Henry County-Martinsville jobless rate dipped by 0.2 percent, from 8.8 percent in October to 8.6 percent in November, statistics reveal.
Unemployment in Patrick County dropped by 0.4 percent, from 6.5 percent in October to 6.1 percent in November. The number of jobless residents in the county decreased from 544 to 504, figures indicate.
All three localities have seen their unemployment rates decline in the past year. In November 2012, Martinsville’s jobless rate was 15.8 percent, Henry County’s rate was 9.3 percent and Patrick County’s rate was 7.1 percent, according to VEC records.
Both counties reported decreases in their labor forces in November. In Henry County, the total number of people employed or seeking work decreased by 200, from 23,440 in October to 23,240, and Patrick County’s labor force dropped by 130, from 8,433 to 8,303, statistics show.
However, Martinsville’s labor force increased by 57 people, from 5,272 in October to 5,329 in November, figures indicate.
Ann Lang, senior economist for the VEC’s Economic Information Services Division, said that to her knowledge, no businesses in the Martinsville area imposed a large number of layoffs in November.
Although there could have been some job losses that factored into the city’s jobless rate increase, the upsurge in the local labor force also was a factor, she pointed out.
“If there are no additional jobs (created) and more people enter the market, unemployment is going to go up,” said Lisa Lyle, director of recruiting and marketing for the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corp.
Furthermore, “small changes” in unemployment and labor force numbers “can cause big changes” in Martinsville’s jobless rate because of the city’s small population, Lang added. The city has fewer than 14,000 residents.
Lang said people seeking temporary jobs for the holiday season may have contributed to Martinsville’s labor force increase. That could include people who already had jobs but wanted to supplement their incomes, she said.
Virginia’s statewide unemployment rate dipped 0.5 percent to 5 percent in November. That was 0.4 percent below the jobless rate for November 2012, of 5.4 percent, statistics show.
Unemployment declined in November as the number of people seeking jobs in Virginia dropped by 22,705, all the while 8,183 people found jobs and the statewide labor force decreased by 14,522, the VEC reported.
Arlington County’s unemployment rate in November of 3.2 percent was the state’s lowest. Danville-Pittsylvania County, at 6.7 percent, had the highest jobless rate among metropolitan regions, according to statistics.
The VEC surveyed unemployment during the week of Nov. 3-9.