Arlington’s jobless rate appears stuck just above 3 percent – far better than at the height of the pandemic but still having a way to go before returning to its pre-COVID lows.
With a total of 144,703 county residents employed in the civilian workforce and 4,689 looking for jobs, Arlington’s jobless rate of 3.1 percent in May was unchanged from a month before, according to figures reported June 30 by the Virginia Employment Commission.
The jobless rate was, however, a significant improvement from a year before, as the impact of government-imposed economic lockdowns was beginning to take hold. Arlington’s jobless rate in May 2020 stood at 5.8 percent, according to state officials.
Most localities across Northern Virginia were in the same boat as Arlington, with their jobless rates much better than a year before but still struggling to get back to pre-pandemic levels.
Jobless rates for the month stood at 2.8 percent in Falls Church, up from 2.6 percent a month before; 3.3 percent in Loudoun County, up from 3.1 percent; 3.7 percent in Fairfax County, up from 3.6 percent; 3.9 percent in Alexandria, down from 4 percent; and 4.2 percent in Prince William County, up from 4.1 percent.
For Northern Virginia as a whole, the jobless rate of 3.7 percent in May was up from 3.5 percent in April, representing 1.56 million residents employed in the civilian workforce and 59,300 looking for jobs.
Among Virginia’s 134 cities and counties, the lowest joblessness was found in Madison County, at 2.5 percent, followed by Falls Church and then a tie at 2.9 percent between King George and Rappahannock counties. The highest rates were found in Petersburg (10.6 percent), Martinsville and Hopewell (7.8 percent each), and Emporia (7.7 percent).
Virginia’s statewide, non-seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate of 4.1 percent in May was down from 3.9 percent in April, but kept Virginia well below than the national average of 5.5 percent.
Among the 50 states, the lowest jobless rates for the month were recorded in New Hampshire (2.5 percent) and Nebraska and Vermont (2.6 percent each). The highest rates were found in Hawaii (8.1 percent), New Mexico (8 percent) and California (7.9 percent).
Over the past year, Virginia has gained back about 255,000 jobs lost in the early part of the pandemic, up about 7 percent in total jobs. Nationally, Nevada has seen the biggest rebound (up 19.2 percent in employment since May 2020), followed by Michigan (up 16.8 percent) and Rhode Island (13 percent). In raw numbers, the biggest rebound in jobs was found in California (up 1.22 million from the depths of COVID), New York (882,500) and Texas (804,200).