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August offers mostly good news on jobs / October 03, 2019

The August jobs report for Halifax County contains mostly good news on the local economy as employment rose from the prior month and is running ahead of last year’s numbers.

On a less upbeat note, Halifax’s jobless rate of 4.1 percent exceeds that of nearby Southside Virginia counties and lags far behind the statewide average.

The 4.1 percent August jobless rate is a marked improvement from the July figure of 4.5 percent. The number of jobs locally increased from 14,732 in July to 15,018 in August, the highest number recorded thus far in 2019.

August’s total is only the second time this year that Halifax County has topped 15,000 jobs. The other month was June, when Halifax had 15,004 employed workers. The numbers are from the Virginia Employment Commission, which issues the monthly labor market data.

The size of the county’s labor market — an important metric of local economic activity — also grew in August, to 15,657, up by 231 workers from July’s figure of 15,426.

Year-to-year numbers paint an even more favorable picture of the county job market. In both August 2018 and August 2019, Halifax County posted unemployment rates of 4.1 percent. But in August 2018, the county had an active workforce of 15,141 persons, with 14,525 holding down jobs. In August 2019, 516 persons were added to the workforce, and the number of employed workers rose by 493.

In surrounding Southside localities, August unemployment rates were generally better than Halifax County’s 4.1 percent mark, with the exception of the City of Danville:

» The jobless rate in Mecklenburg County for August was 3.9 percent, down from 4.2 percent the month before.

» In Charlotte County, the rate for August was 3.4 percent, down from 3.8 percent in July.

» In Pittsylvania County, the August jobless rate plunged to 3.3 percent, from 3.9 percent in July.

» Danville’s jobless rate for August was 4.9 percent, an improvement from July when unemployment was 5.4 percent.

Across Virginia, the August jobless rate was 2.8 percent.

The July numbers for Halifax County were revised from an earlier report that showed the county lost 849 jobs during that month. Employment in July was much higher than initially reported, the likely result, said the VEC, of a major local employer turning in its monthly employment report late to the state agency.

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