Virginia’s unemployment rate fell in October to 2.6% as employers added a net total of 8,000 new jobs and the state’s labor force continued to grow.
The state’s unemployment rate was down from 2.7% in September and 2.8% a year ago in October, the Virginia Employment Commission reported Tuesday.
Virginia’s jobless rate remained below the national rate, which edged up from 3.5% in September to 3.6% in October.
The rates have been adjusted for seasonal factors that can temporarily affect employment.
“The latest jobs report on Virginia was fairly upbeat,” said Joseph Mengedoth, associate regional economist for the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
Mengedoth noted that employers in Virginia added 8,000 net new jobs to their payrolls in October, driven by an 8,900-job gain in the leisure and hospitality industry — the largest-ever single-month gain for that sector.
Most of the job gains in leisure and hospitality were in the accommodation and food services segment of the industry, he said.
That gain was offset somewhat by job losses from September to October in three sectors — manufacturing; professional and business services; and education and health services — amounting to less than 1% for each sector.
From October 2018 to October 2019, employers in Virginia added a net total of 29,500 jobs, an employment growth rate of 0.7% that lagged the national rate of 1.4%.
Virginia’s jobless rate declined in October even as more people entered the labor force, which expanded for the 16th consecutive month, growing by 13,547 to a new high of almost 4.43 million. The labor force participation rate in the state also grew by 0.2 percentage points to 66.0%, Mengedoth said.
The number of Virginia residents counted as unemployed decreased by 2,368 in October and the number of residents counted as employed increased by 15,915.
Every metro area in the state except for the Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford region reported year-over-year employment growth. In the Richmond region, employers added a net of 5,300 jobs from October 2018 to October 2019, a 0.8% growth rate.