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December jobless rate jumps after recent dips

SoVaNow.com / February 10, 2021
Southside Virginia took a significant jobs hit in December after months of rising employment as the surging COVID-19 virus took its toll.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics attributed the decline in payroll employment nationally to the increase in coronavirus cases and efforts to contain the pandemic.

In December, Mecklenburg County reported 298 new cases of the coronavirus, an average rate of 9.6 per day. The Southside Health District attributed nearly all of those cases to community spread.

During that time, Mecklenburg County payroll fell by 120 workers, from 11,700 in November to 11,580 in December, according to data released Wednesday by the Virginia Employment Commission.

Not only did local job creation come to a halt, but another 97 people exited the work force, pushing Mecklenburg County’s jobless rate up from 5 percent in November to 5.3 percent in December.

In December 2019, Mecklenburg’s jobless rate was 3.9 percent.

National forecasters and economists saw the December’s jobs report as a reflection of how badly the winter wave of the pandemic weighed on local and national economies.

President Biden said the December jobs report underscored the need for more economic stimulus, including direct payments to families.

December jobs numbers in Halifax County were equally weak. From November to December, Halifax County lost 258 workers and shed 274 jobs. The result was an uptick in the jobless rate from 4.9 percent to 5.1 percent.

Brunswick County, which consistently lagged behind Mecklenburg and Halifax in recovering from the 2008 Great Recession, saw its jobless rate climb to seven percent in December. It was 6.6 percent in November. Brunswick shed 50 jobs and saw 24 workers fall out of the active labor pool.

The last time Brunswick County’s unemployment rate reached seven percent was in May 2015.

Nationally, the unemployment rate rose one tenth percent from 6.4 percent in November to 6.5 percent in December. Virginia’s unemployment rate also slid up one tenth of a percent during the same period, from 4.6 to 4.7 percent.

Surrounding counties saw similar trends in their jobless rates.

» Unemployment in Charlotte County rose from 4.1 percent in November to 4.3 percent in December.

» Lunenburg County’s rate jumped from 4.4 percent to 4.7 percent.

» Pittsylvania County’s rate climbed from 4.3 percent to 4.6 percent and the City of Danville’s rate rose from 6.8 percent to 7.3 percent.



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