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Martinsville leads state in jobless
Friday, April 11, 2014
From Bulletin staff reports
Martinsville’s unemployment rate held steady in February at 11.4 percent and was the highest in the state following a one-month dip to second place, according to information released Thursday by the Virginia Employment Commission.
Henry County’s rate improved slightly, from 8.7 percent in January to 8.6 percent in February, while Patrick County’s rate was unchanged at 6.6 percent.
VEC statistics showed 600 unemployed people in the city in February, up slightly from 595 the month before. The city’s February labor force — which includes employed people and those seeking work — stood at 5,283, up from January’s total of 5,240.
The February figures were enough to return the city’s rate to the highest in the state. In January, Page County had the highest rate at 11.7 percent. January was the second time in seven months that Martinsville’s rate was not the state’s highest, according to previous reports.
Page County’s unemployment rate in February was 10.8 percent, tied with Lancaster County for second highest rate among the state’s 134 localities, statistics show.
All of Martinsville’s numbers showed improvement from February of last year, when the labor force totaled 5,229 with 807 jobless workers and an unemployment rate of 15.4 percent.
Henry County’s labor force grew slightly from 23,132 in January to 23,288 in February, statistics show. The February figures included 1,997 jobless county residents, an improvement from 2,017 the month before.
The slight changes accounted for the uptick from January’s jobless rate of 8.7 percent to February’s rate of 8.6 percent.
The county’s numbers also were better than they were in February 2013, when 2,203 people were jobless out of a labor force of 22,872. At that time, the jobless rate was 9.6 percent.
Henry County’s unemployment rate in February was the 16th highest in Virginia, according to the VEC.
Although Patrick County’s unemployment rate was unchanged in February at 6.6 percent, the size of the labor force was down slightly, from 8,253 in January to 8,188 in February. There were 538 jobless workers counted in February, down from 548 the month before.
The jobless rate was improved from February 2013, when it was 8.1 percent. The labor force at that time was 8,419, with 680 jobless workers tallied.
Patrick County’s February rate was the 45th highest in the state.
Figures for the Martinsville micropolitan area, which includes Henry County and Martinsville, changed little in February. The jobless rate in the micropolitan area was 9.1 percent, down slightly from 9.2 percent the month before. The February labor force totaled 28,571 with 2,597 jobless workers, improved a bit from 28,372 in the labor force in January, when 2,612 were without jobs.
The micropolitan area also showed improvement from February 2013, when the unemployment rate was 10.7 percent with a labor force of 28,101 and 3,010 unemployed workers.
All of the local figures were higher than the statewide unemployment rate of 5.3 percent in February. Nationally, the February rate was 7 percent, according to The Associated Press.
Arlington County had the state’s lowest unemployment rate at 3.4 percent in February.