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13.4 percent jobless rate in county / April 08, 2010
Halifax County’s unemployment rate climbed a new high of 13.4 percent in February, up half a percentage point from the January figure of 12.9 percent.

According to the Virginia Employment Commission, there were 452 job openings across the county and 2,199 members of the local civilian labor force who were seeking work during the month.

By comparison, in January the number of unemployed workers stood at 2,109, 90 fewer than in February. For every job opening in February, there were 4.87 persons actively looking for work.

Halifax was not alone in seeing its already-high rate of unemployment creep upwards. To the east. neighboring Mecklenburg County saw the jobless rate shoot up nearly a full percentage point in February —13.6 percent, compared to the January rate of 12.8 percent.

In Charlotte County, the jobless rate jumped to 10.4 percent in February, up from the January rate of 10 percent. Pittsylvania County’s unemployment rate rose from an even 11 percent to 11.6 percent.

The City of Martinsville continued to post the highest jobless rate in Virginia in February, with 21.4 percent of the active labor force without a job. The City of Danville also ranked high up the scale with an unemployment rate of 14.9 percent.

Regionally, only Campbell County posted a decline in its jobless rate, falling from 8.4 percent in January to 8.3 in February.

Statewide, unemployment reached 7.7 percent, up from the January rate of 7.6.

According to the report by the VEC, the trade and transportation sector posted the largest decrease in jobs, shedding 11,100 positions in February. Construction employment was down by 9,000 jobs, which may have reflected both the inclement weather and the soft housing market.

Professional and business services employment fell by 7,500 jobs and manufacturing employment declined by 4,000 jobs. The leisure and hospitality industry dropped 3,500 jobs and 2,000 jobs were lost in finance.

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