Martinsville Bulletin, Inc.
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Martinsville, Virginia 24115
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City No. 2 in jobless rate
Sunday, March 23, 2014
By MICKEY POWELL - Bulletin Staff Writer
For the second time in seven months, Martinsville’s jobless rate is not the highest in the state.
Yet while unemployment in the city declined in January, jobless rates rose in Henry and Patrick counties, Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) statistics released Friday show.
Unemployment in Martinsville fell from 12.4 percent in December to 11.4 percent in January. The city’s labor force declined by 10 people to 5,249 as the number of residents seeking jobs dropped by 53 to 599, figures show.
The labor force represents the total number of employed people as well as the number of people seeking jobs.
Martinsville ranked second in the state in January behind Page County, which had a rate of 11.7 percent.
Martinsville previously fell to second place in July. That was the first time since January 2009 that the city did not have Virginia’s highest monthly jobless rate, VEC records indicate. Galax was the highest then.
Henry County’s unemployment rate rose from 7.2 percent in December to 8.8 percent in January. Although the county’s labor force dropped by 18 people to 23,176, the number of job-seeking residents increased by 374 to 2,033, statistics show.
The combined Henry County-Martinsville unemployment rate for January was 9.3 percent. That was up from 8.1 percent in December, the VEC reported.
In Patrick County, unemployment climbed from 5.8 percent in December to 6.7 percent in January. While the county’s labor force declined by 36 people to 8,266, the number of residents looking for work increased by 69 to 552, figures show.
Henry County tied with Danville and Hopewell in January for 19th place in terms of unemployment among localities. Patrick County and Southampton County tied for 51st place.
All three area localities have seen large drops in their jobless rates during the past year. In January 2013, statistics show, unemployment was 16.7 percent in Martinsville, 10.7 percent in Henry County and 9.4 percent in Patrick County.
Virginia’s statewide unemployment rate dropped by 0.2 percent in January to 5 percent, according to the VEC.
Danville-Pittsylvania County had the highest unemployment rate among metropolitan areas that month at 7.6 percent, statistics show.
Arlington County’s unemployment rate of 3.3 percent in January was the state’s lowest.