Total employment in Fairfax County expanded from the first quarter of 2021 to the same period in 2022, but only at about 40 percent of the national rate of growth, according to new federal data.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Aug. 24 that it counted 608,100 jobs in Fairfax County at the end of the first quarter of this year, an increase of 1.8 percent from a year before. That’s below the national growth rate of 5 percent, although the lower rate could be an indication that Fairfax was less impacted by COVID-related job losses than many other areas of the nation.
That data look at where a person works, regardless of where that person lives, being a different indicator compared to monthly state unemployment data, which focuses on locality of residence.
Nationally, employment in the new report (147.6 million) was up year-over-year in 349 of the 355 largest U.S. counties, with the highest rate of increase coming in Clark County, Nev. – home to Las Vegas – at 12.5 percent as the tourism and convention industry rebounded.
Fairfax ranked 309th in rate of employment growth.
Eleven Virginia localities (independent cities as well as counties) are included in the quarterly report, and all showed increases in employment, albeit to varying degrees. From the largest on down:
• Henrico County’s total employment of 185,300 was up 1.2 percent, ranking it 332nd in terms of percentage rate of growth.
• Loudoun County’s total of 174,200 was up 4 percent, ranking it 168th.
• Arlington County’s total of 171,900 was up 1.1 percent, ranking it 333rd.
• Richmond’s total of 151,000 was up 2.6 percent, ranking it 267th.
• Norfolk’s total of 136,600 was up 2.4 percent, ranking it 282nd.
• Chesterfield County’s total of 137,500 was up 3.8 percent, ranking it 181st.
• Prince William County’s total of 131,200 was up 3.3 percent, ranking it 211th.
• Chesapeake’s total of 102,400 was up 1 percent, ranking it 337th.
• Newport News’ total of 101,200 was up 0.3 percent, ranking it 348th.
• Alexandria’s total of 84,100 was up 3.1 percent, ranking it 228th.
Employment totals include workers covered by unemployment insurance both in the civilian workforce and federal government. The 355 localities in the quarterly data represent about 73 percent of workers covered by those programs in the U.S.
In addition to Clark County in Nevada, some of the biggest year-over-year jobs rebounds came in similarly tourist-centric locales in Florida and New Jersey. Also among the biggest comebacks was San Francisco, whose economy took a major pounding during the early days of COVID and the economic lockdowns that were imposed in its wake.