RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia’s unemployment rate held steady at 2.6% in September, a 0.8% drop from the same point a year ago.

According to data released by the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC), the commonwealth’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 2.6% continues to be below the national rate, which declined to 3.5%.

The number of employed Virginia residents rose by 993 as employers added 8,000 jobs in September.

Virginia’s overall labor force participation rate — the proportion of residents age 16 and older employed or actively looking for work — lowered slightly to 63.6%, above the national rate of 62.3%.

From September 2021 to September 2022, the VEC estimates that businesses in Virginia gained 134,700 jobs, an increase of 3.4%. Compared to a year ago, all industry sectors have increased except the finance sector which has decreased by 4,200 jobs since September last year.

Over the course of September, employment in all but two major industry sectors increased or held steady. The leisure and hospitality sector continued its downward trajectory and lost an estimated 3,500 employees — it lost 2,400 in August. There was also a loss of approximately 200 jobs in the mining sector.