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Fauquier County unemployment up after winter shopping season

Wednesday, Apr. 2 | By Jonathan Hunley
Unemployment in Fauquier County rose by 0.5 percent from December to January as holiday shopping season ended, a Virginia Employment Commission economist said this week.

The county's rate of 4.6 percent, however, was still below the state figure of 5.4 percent and the national rate of 7 percent.

Ann D. Lang, senior economist with the VEC's Economic Information Services Division, attributed the uptick to the end of the holiday shopping season. Workers added to retail staffs for the Christmas rush were let go as the new year rolled around.

Fauquier's 4.1 percent rate in November and December was the lowest figure the locality had seen since 2008.

Arlington County logged Virginia's lowest unemployment in January at 3.3 percent. Page County was highest at 11.7 percent.

Joe Martin, president and chief executive of the Fauquier Chamber of Commerce, said the unemployment rise in the county is probably just a "speed bump" in what economists forecast as a prosperous 2014.

Overall, the business climate in Fauquier remains strong, despite any effects winter may have had on companies, Martin said.

Inclement weather isn't necessarily advantageous for businesses, "but the Fauquier community is resilient," Martin said Tuesday even as snow fell in the county.

He said that chamber members overall are anticipating spring and a "positive" and "upward-moving" economy this year.

Chamber businesses also have been active at the organization's get-togethers, so much so that a new lead-sharing group has begun because similar gatherings were packing meeting rooms.

And about that snow …

Deep accumulation certainly can lessen foot traffic at retailers, Martin said.

But a farmer at a recent chamber agricultural event said that the snow has been a boon for him.

It is delaying planting, Martin recalled the man saying, but it's good for soil nutrients and is building up the water base.

"I'm loving it," the farmer said.

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