The Richmond region’s unemployment rate declined in August to 2.9% from 3.0% in July as the labor force contracted and employment growth softened.
The region’s unemployment rate was down from 3.3% in August 2018, the Virginia Employment Commission reported Wednesday.
The rates have not been adjusted for seasonal factors that can temporarily affect employment.
When seasonally adjusted, the Richmond region’s rate fell from 2.9% in July to 2.7% in August, according to Chmura Economics & Analytics, a Richmond research firm.
Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined one-tenth of a percentage point from July to August to 2.8%, which was unchanged from a year ago. The national rate was unchanged for the month at 3.7%.
While the number of people counted as unemployed in the Richmond area declined by about 1,000 in August, the region’s labor force also contracted by almost 10,000 in August.
“Overall, the economy continues to grow in the Richmond metro area but at a much softer pace than in the previous month,” said Christine Chmura, CEO and chief economist at Chmura Economics & Analytics.
Chmura noted that the employment growth rate was about 0.6% in the Richmond region from August 2018 to August 2019, slower than the 1.5% rate in July.
During the same period, employment grew 0.9% in Virginia and 1.4% in the nation.
Seven of the 10 major industry sectors added workers in the Richmond area in August, with financial services growing at the fastest pace of 2.9% from a year ago.
Three major sectors contracted, including the information sector, which was down 5.5% from a year ago, followed by trade, transportation and utilities with a 1.1% decline. Construction fell 0.7%.
All of Virginia’s major metro areas saw lower unemployment rates in August, Chmura said. The only metro area with an unemployment rate not below 3.0% was Lynchburg, at 3.0%.