Governor Northam: Virginia’s Unemployment Rate Remains 2.9%

by Lee Hernly, Editor
Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was unchanged again in April at 2.9 percent.

Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was unchanged again in April at 2.9 percent. The April 2019 seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for Virginia was down 0.2 percentage point from a year ago. In April, the labor force expanded for the tenth consecutive month by 2,637, or 0.1 percent to set a new record high of 4,362,921, as the number of unemployed increased by 628. Household employment increased by 2,009 to set a new high of 4,235,646. Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continues to be below the national rate, which declined by 0.2 percentage point to 3.6 percent in April—the lowest rate since December 1969.

“The continued growth of Virginia’s labor force underscores the substantial progress we have made in diversifying our economy and training more and more Virginians with in-demand skills,” said Governor Northam. “The recent major economic development announcements in Augusta and Rockingham Counties highlight our efforts to attract 21st century jobs and new capital investment to all corners of the Commonwealth—and my administration will remain focused on creating opportunities so every Virginia family can thrive, no matter who they are or where they live.”

Virginia has the lowest seasonally adjusted unemployment rate among the Southeast states. Virginia has the fifth best rate among the states east of the Mississippi along with Massachusetts. Virginia is ranked fifth in the nation for the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate along with Massachusetts, Nebraska, and Utah.

“Creating quality jobs and capital investment is a top priority for this administration, and we announced a number of great economic development projects in rural localities this past month,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “Our goal is to bring positive economic development to all regions of the Commonwealth and we continue to work hard to achieve this goal.”

Virginia’s nonfarm payroll employment rose by 43,100 jobs, or 1.1 percent from April 2018. Over-the-year employment growth in Virginia has been positive for 61 consecutive months and has continued to exhibit strength into second quarter of 2019. For April, Virginia’s over-the-year growth of 1.1 percent was slower than the national rate. Nationally, over-the-year growth accelerated slightly in April to 1.8 percent from 1.7 percent in February and January.

“With our low unemployment rate and growing economy, employers are hungry for talent,” said Chief Workforce Development Advisor Megan Healy. “Whether you’re between jobs or just ready to take the next step, now is a great time to look for new opportunities in the Commonwealth of Virginia.”

In April, the private sector recorded an over-the-year gain of 40,200 jobs, while employment in the public sector rose by 2,900 jobs. Compared to a year ago, on a seasonally adjusted basis, eight of the eleven major industry divisions experienced employment gains, while the other three experienced employment losses.

For a greater statistical breakdown visit the Virginia Employment Commission’s website at

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