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FairfaxBusinessRegional jobless rate continues a slow comeback

Regional jobless rate continues a slow comeback

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The Washington region’s year-over-year jobless rate in July was well down from a year before, according to new federal data, as the local area and nation continues to wriggle their way through the COVID crisis.

But the data also suggest that the region still has some hurdles to clear before being back to pre-pandemic employment norms.

With 3,420,173 in the civilian workforce and 174,818 looking for jobs, July’s non-seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate of 5.1 percent was down from 5.6 percent in June and down from 8.4 percent in July 2020, according to data reported Sept. 1 by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

D.C. and its environs were not alone – unemployment rates on a year-over-year basis were down in 388 of the 389 metropolitan areas across the nation, while the national jobless rate dropped from 10.5 percent in July 2020 to 5.7 percent this July.

All told, 251 metro areas had jobless rates less than the U.S. average, 132 areas exceeded it and six equaled it.

A total of 31 metro areas in July had jobless rates of less than 3 percent, led by Logan, Utah (1.8 percent) and Lincoln, Neb. (1.9 percent). On the other side of the coin were the seven metro areas with jobless rates in double digits, led by Yuma, Ariz., at 20.1 percent.

Of the 51 metro areas across the nation with populations of more than a million, the lowest jobless rates for the month were found in Salt Lake City and Oklahoma City at 2.8 percent and 2.9 percent, respectively. The highest rates were reported in Las Vegas and Los Angeles at 9.4 percent and 9.3 percent.

In Virginia, the jobless rate of 4.1 percent in July represented 4,315,758 in the civilian workforce and 174,994 looking for jobs. The unemployment rate declined from 4.5 percent a month before and 8.1 percent a year before.

Among various metro areas in the Old Dominion, the jobless rate ranged from 3 percent in Winchester to 4.6 percent in Hampton Roads.

When it comes to non-farm payroll employment, 142 metro areas showed year-over-year improvement, with 247 essentially unchanged. (In the Washington area, the civilian workforce recorded in July 2021 was little changed from the summer of 2020, suggesting the economic rebound isn’t quite as full-throttle as some might hope.)

Over the past year, the New York City metro area has regained 558,300 jobs to lead the nation in raw numbers, followed by Los Angeles (359,300) and Dallas (211,100).

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