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FairfaxBusinessVa. almost back to pre-pandemic employment level

Va. almost back to pre-pandemic employment level

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So close, and yet not quite there.

Virginia’s employment rebound has almost, but not yet, joined the 18 states that have seen jobs totals rise beyond where they stood at the start of COVID.

Virginia’s non-farm employment of 4.07 million in July represented 99.5 percent of the commonwealth’s jobs total in February 2020, according to new figures from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Figures show that the commonwealth bottomed out at 3.61 million people employed in the workforce in April 2020 before beginning the long, and as yet uncompleted, slog back to parity with pre-pandemic levels.

July’s employment figures put the nation’s total employment at right at 100 percent of the pre-COVID level, and was led by Idaho, which at just over 106 percent has seen the nation’s largest jump back. (Idaho returned to 100 percent of pre-pandemic employment before the end of 2020 and has not looked back.)

Rounding out the top five states in jobs rebound are Utah, Texas, Florida and North Carolina. The next five are Montana, Georgia, Arizona, Tennessee and Arkansas.

Bottom of the list was Hawaii, which has seen non-farm employment return to only 92.3 percent of pre-COVID levels. Also in the bottom five are Alaska, the District of Columbia, Vermont and New York, the next smallest rebounds reported by Louisiana, North Dakota, Connecticut, Michigan and Ohio.

Nationally, employment had stood at 152.5 million in February 2020, contracting to 130.5 million by of that year before starting to climb back.

Virginia’s share of pre-pandemic employment had been running ahead of the national average through October 2021. It then fell behind and, at least through July, has remained there.

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