photo_ft_news_April 2020 BLS unemployment by state

UPDATE: Fauquier County’s April unemployment rate was 8.8%, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released on June 3. Of the 134 counties and independent cities in Virginia, Fauquier had the twenty-first-lowest rate of unemployment. Virginia’s April unemployment rate was 10.6% and the national rate was 14.7%.

Though relatively low, Fauquier’s unemployment rate was more than four times higher than in April 2019, when 2.1% of residents were classified as unemployed. In total, 3,177 county residents were unemployed when the BLS survey for April was conducted this year.

The April unemployment rate in neighboring Prince William County was significantly higher, at 11.3%, representing 27,707 workers without a job. Culpeper County experienced a 9.1% unemployment rate, with 2,164 residents unemployed.

National employment statistics for May will be released by the BLS on June 5.

ORIGINAL STORY: In April, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Virginia, while still historically high at 10.6%, was significantly lower than the national rate; the state ranks as the 13th-lowest among the 50 states and the District of Columbia. In neighboring Maryland, the April rate was even lower, at 9.9%.

A May 22 press release from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics detailed the state-by-state unemployment rates for April. All 50 states recorded an increase in their unemployment rate.

The national seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for April was announced earlier this month at 14.7%, the highest ever recorded since the statistic was first introduced in 1947.

The household survey, which along with a survey of firms is the basis for the BLS employment calculations, was conducted from April 12 through April 18, about a month after major disruptions to the national economy began amid the global pandemic. The national unemployment rate for May will be released on June 5.

Altogether, 453,923 workers in Virginia were classified as unemployed in April out of a total workforce of 4,297,739.

More currently, in the week ending May 16, 44,699 workers in Virginia filed initial claims for unemployment benefits, according to the Virginia Employment Commission. That number was down 14% from the previous week and represented about the same percentage week-over-week decrease as in recent weeks.

Continued weekly claims stood at 392,673 in Virginia, up less than 3% from the previous week. There were only 18,177 continued claims filed statewide last year during the comparable week.

While VEC data are not seasonally adjusted, the latest statistics for unemployment claims suggest that the employment situation in Virginia has not significantly improved since the BLS data were collected in mid-April.

According to a May 22 press release from the VEC, “Over-the-year employment growth in Virginia had been positive for 72 consecutive months leading up to April’s sharp decline. In April, the private sector recorded an over-the-year loss of 339,900 jobs, while employment in the public sector lost 25,300 jobs.”

While employment fell in all major industries, the press release said, jobs in leisure and hospitality were especially affected.

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