Business / Virginia

Virginia unemployment rate drops to 3.7%

~ Virginia’s unemployment rate ranks 2nd lowest among major U.S. states  ~

– Virginia labor force expands to record high 4,340,369 –

– Initial unemployment claims hit 43 year low –

RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe announced Friday, Oct. 20, that Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was down 0.1 percentage point in September to 3.7 percent after holding steady at 3.8 percent the previous two months. This figure was down 0.4 percentage points from a year ago. Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continues below the national rate, which was down 0.2 percentage points in September to 4.2 percent.

“I’m pleased to see the Commonwealth’s unemployment rate fall yet again, a clear sign that our economy continues to strengthen,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Today’s announcement is a result of our efforts to bring new jobs to Virginia, invest in education and workforce development and build the infrastructure we need to drive growth in every corner of the Commonwealth. With three months left in my administration, I will continue to do everything I can to overcome the headwinds in Washington and build the new Virginia economy.”

Virginia has the second lowest seasonally adjusted unemployment rate among major U.S. states, behind Tennessee.

Since the beginning of the McAuliffe Administration, average hourly earnings and personal income in Virginia have increased by a total of 7.4 percent and 11.1 percent, respectively, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. In addition, average weekly wages for the private sector have increased 7.9 percent year to date, according to the Virginia Employment Commission.

Virginia’s labor force expanded for the 18th consecutive month to 4,340,369, setting a new record high, and household employment expanded for the 33rd consecutive month to 4,180,369, also a record high. The labor force increased by 19,756 in September, as household employment rose by 21,940 and the number of unemployed decreased by 2,184.

“The decline in the unemployment rate, along with a growing labor force, show that Virginia’s economy is strengthening and that our efforts with private sector partners, localities, the General Assembly, and others to build the new Virginia economy are working,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd Haymore.  “This work and results yielded are positioning Virginia to reclaim its place for being the best state for business.  Together with record investments in workforce development, we are continuing efforts to expand job opportunities and pro-business initiatives across the Commonwealth.”

Virginia’s nonfarm payroll employment is 42,400 jobs higher when compared to September of 2016. Over-the-year employment growth in Virginia has been positive for 42 consecutive months. In September, Virginia’s over-the-year growth was 1.1 percent. Nationally, total nonfarm employment was up 1.2 percent from a year ago.

In September, the private sector recorded an over-the-year gain of 41,400 jobs, while the public sector recorded an over-the-year gain of 1,000 jobs. Compared to a year ago, on a seasonally adjusted basis, eight of the eleven major industry divisions experienced employment gains.

For a greater statistical breakdown visit the Virginia Employment Commission’s website at   To learn more about current, available job opportunities in the Commonwealth, please visit the Virginia Workforce Connection