RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia’s unemployment rate was reduced by 0.2% in March. Continuing its reduction of 0.1% the month prior.
According to the Virginia Employment Commission, the Commonwealth’s unemployment rate was 3.0% in March, dropping from 3.2% in February.
The unemployment rate was 3.3% in January, 3.2% in December, 3.4% in November, and 3.6% in October.
While the unemployment rate is much better than it was during the peak of the pandemic — in April 2020 it rose as high as 10.6% — it is still not quite as low as it was during pre-pandemic levels — in February 2020 it was as low as 2.6%.
“We’re seeing green shoots in job recovery as we hit the lowest unemployment rate in the Commonwealth in nearly two years, that’s really exciting,” said Gov. Glenn Youngkin. “My administration is focused on continuing this trend, creating jobs, and boosting our economy. We’re going to have a big surplus and we look forward to investing that back into Virginians, job recovery, our economy, education, law enforcement and mental health.”
Virginia’s unemployment rate continues to be below the national average, which fell from 3.8% to 3.6%.
“We’re happy to see the unemployment rate fall and the labor force continue to grow,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Caren Merrick. “The labor force participation rate increased as well, but it’s still well below the pre-pandemic levels. We expect that number to continue rising as more Virginians head back to work.”
The labor force participation rate measures the proportion of the civilian population age 16 and older that is employed or actively looking for work.
The labor force participation rate increased slightly this month, sitting at 63.3% in March. This is a 0.3% increase from 63.0% in February, but the participation rate has barely fluctuated since being 63.0% in October 2021.
By comparison, the national labor force participation rate was 62.4%, making the Commonwealth slightly ahead of the curve.
Nonfarm employment — workers, excluding farm workers and workers in a handful of other job classifications — had a modest rise of 2,700 people in March. This increase can be considered normal, especially in comparison to the gargantuan increase of 21,300 employees in February.
According to the Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s office, Virginia had the second-lowest unemployment rate in the southeast and the 15th lowest in the nation.