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City's jobless rate again top in state
Wednesday, July 2, 2014
By BULLETIN STAFF REPORTS -
Martinsville’s unemployment rate improved slightly in May but it remained the state’s highest at 10.8 percent, according to data released Tuesday by the Virginia Employment Commission.
The rate was an improvement of two-tenths of a percent over the April rate of 11.0 percent.
Henry and Patrick counties’ rates both climbed in May, according to VEC data. Henry County’s rate was 8.2 percent, up from 7.5 percent in April, and Patrick County’s was 6.7 percent, up from 5.7 percent the month before.
Henry County’s May rate was the state’s 18th highest, while Patrick County’s ranked 39th out of Virginia’s 134 localities. The statewide unemployment rate in May was 5.4 percent, the VEC reported.
Martinsville’s labor force — which includes employed people and those actively seeking work — declined to 5,214 in May, down from 5,227 in April and 5,393 in May 2013. Officials have said that the labor force may decline as people leave the area or give up on looking for work.
The VEC counted 562 jobless city residents in May, down from 576 in April and 664 in May 2013, when the city’s unemployment rate stood at 12.3 percent.
Henry County’s labor force grew, to 23,042 in May from 22,853 in April. However, it was smaller than the 23,656 counted in May 2013.
The VEC tallied 1,893 jobless people in the county in May, up from 1,709 in April but down from 2,154 in May 2013, when the county’s jobless rate was 9.1 percent.
Patrick County’s labor force stood at 8,455 people in May, up from 8,314 in April but down from 8,470 in May 2013.
The VEC tallied 568 jobless Patrick County residents in May, up from 478 in April but down from 631 in May 2013, when the jobless rate was 7.4 percent.
Martinsville-Henry County Micropolitan Area
The jobless rate for the combined Martinsville-Henry County area was 8.7 percent in May, up from 8.1 percent in April but down from 9.7 percent in May of last year.
The VEC showed 28,256 people in the combined labor force in May, up from 28,080 in April but down from 29,049 in May 2013.
The number of jobless residents was 2,455 in May, up from 2,285 in April but down from 2,818 in May of last year.
Arlington County had Virginia’s lowest jobless rate in May at 3.7 percent. After Martinsville, the highest rates belonged to the cities of Lexington and Petersburg at 10.3 percent; Buchanan and Norton counties at 9.9 percent; and Danville at 9.8 percent.
The national unemployment rate in May was 6.1 percent, The Associated Press reported.