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Jobless rate up in city
Counties' rates down
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
By MICKEY POWELL - Bulletin Staff Writer
Unemployment in Martinsville increased slightly in March, and the city had the state’s highest jobless rate for the second consecutive month, Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) figures released Tuesday show.
Jobless rates for Henry and Patrick counties dropped slightly in March.
In Martinsville, unemployment edged up from 11.6 percent in February to 11.7 percent in March. Among the city’s labor force of 5,267 people, 615 were searching for work last month, according to statistics.
The labor force includes people who are employed as well as those looking for jobs.
Henry County’s unemployment rate dropped from 8.6 percent in February to 8.3 percent in March. A total of 1,911 people in the county’s labor force of 23,062 sought employment last month, the VEC reported.
The Martinsville-Henry County micropolitan region’s combined jobless rate dropped from 9.1 percent in February to 8.9 percent in March, figures show.
Unemployment in Patrick County dropped from 6.5 percent to 6.4 percent during the same period. There were 524 people looking for jobs among the county’s labor force of 8,247, according to the VEC.
Among 134 cities and counties in Virginia where unemployment levels are gauged, Henry County ranked 20th in March in a tie with Danville and Carroll County. Patrick County had the 48th highest rate.
Martinsville has led the state in unemployment for at least the past decade, despite an occasional monthly drop to second place, statistics indicate.
VEC figures show Martinsville’s average monthly unemployment rate for the five years from 2008 through 2012 was 17.4 percent. Williamsburg ranked second at 13.3 percent, and Danville placed third at 12 percent.
From 2003 through 2012, however, Martinsville’s average jobless rate was 13.4 percent. Danville and Williamsburg tied for second place for that period at 10.4 percent, according to statistics.
An analysis taking into account jobless rates for 2013 was not available.
Virginia’s statewide unemployment rate rose from 5.2 percent in February to 5.3 percent in March. Meanwhile, the nation’s jobless rate declined from 7 percent to 6.8 percent, reports show.
In March, Danville-Pittsylvania County had the highest jobless rate among metropolitan areas at 7.1 percent, while Arlington County and Falls Church tied for the lowest jobless rate at 3.5 percent, figures show.