Inflation may be eating away at their earnings, but a larger share of Fairfax County residents had jobs in February than a month before, according to new federal data.
With 607,707 county residents in the civilian workforce and 15,358 looking for work, the county’s unemployment rate for the shortest month of the year stood at 2.5 percent, down from 2.9 percent a month before and well below the rate of 4.3 percent a year prior.
Figures were reported April 6 by the Virginia Employment Commission.
The month-over-month decline was part of a regional trend, and not unexpected, as unemployment tends to bump up in the immediate aftermath of the holiday season, then recedes as the calendar moves toward springtime.
Among other localities in Northern Virginia, joblessness declined from 2.3 percent to 1.9 percent in Falls Church; from 2.6 percent to 2.1 percent in Arlington; from 2.7 percent to 2.3 percent in Loudoun County; from 3 percent to 2.5 percent in Alexandria; and from 3.3 percent to 2.8 percent in Prince William County.
In Northern Virginia as a whole, the jobless rate declined from 3 percent in January to 2.5 percent in February; for the latter month, the region recorded about 1.6 million in the civilian workforce and about 41,000 looking for jobs.
Among Virginia’s 133 counties and cities, the lowest unemployment rates were posted in Falls Church and Madison County (1.9 percent each); then Arlington and Green counties (2.1 percent); and New Kent County (2.2 percent). The highest rates were recorded in Petersburg (8.2 percent); Emporia (6.4 percent); and Martinsville (5.9 percent).
Statewide, February’s jobless rate stood at 2.9 percent, an improvement from 3.4 percent a month before and below the national rate of 4.1 percent.
For the month, Virginia’s non-farm employment stood at just over 4 million, up 2.9 percent from a year before. Private-sector employment was up 3.1 percent to 3,299,700 while public-sector employment was up 1.7 percent to 702,900.
Northern Virginia’s non-farm employment in February was 1,514,500, up 3.3 percent year-over-year. Among other metro areas in the commonwealth, the year-over-year increase ranged from 1.4 percent in Roanoke to 5.7 percent in Harrisonburg.
The leisure/hospitality sector, which was hardest hit during the initial blast of COVID, saw employment up 16.4 percent statewide from a year before.