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ArlingtonBusinessRegional jobs picture continues its comeback, modestly

Regional jobs picture continues its comeback, modestly

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Jobless rates in Arlington and Fairfax counties were less impacted by the pandemic than in many other areas of the region and country, so it’s perhaps no surprise that the two communities have seen a smaller bump up in jobs over the past year than has been seen nationally.

With 174,100 people counted in its civilian workforce, Arlington’s jobs total at the end of the second quarter of 2021 was up 2.5 percent from the same period in 2020. Meanwhile, Fairfax County’s 611,200 employed during the same period was up 6.1 percent.

Figures were detailed Nov. 23 by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, which reported that the national second-quarter employment rate was up 6.7 percent to 144,045,000. Figures are estimates, and represent most, but not all, workers in the country.

Unlike monthly unemployment data, the quarterly figures represent where employees work, rather than where they live. The figures look at the 343 largest counties in the nation – with year-over-year employment totals were up in 339 of them this time around.

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Nationally, the largest bump up in jobs occurred in Atlantic County, N.J., one of the communities where tourism is king and one most impacted by the early stages of the pandemic and resulting government-imposed economic shutdowns. At the end of the second quarter of 2021, employment had grown 36.8 percent from the depressed levels of a year before, largely due to the return of leisure/hospitality jobs.

Among Virginia localities large enough to be included in the quarterly survey, the biggest bump upward in employment came in Loudoun County, rising 10.1 percent to 174,600. That was good enough to rank Loudoun 32nd out of the 343 localities.

The quarterly data also include average weekly wages for each of the jurisdictions, but those figures are somewhat unreliable in the COVID era, which in its early stages disproportionately impacted low-wage workers and thus, paradoxically, increased the average wage in many communities.

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