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Halifax County job market continues to improve / November 29, 2012
The latest employment data out for the month of October suggests the Halifax County jobs market is continuing to heal after a prolonged recession.

The county’s unemployment rate fell to 8.7 percent in October after coming in at 9.1 percent in September, the Virginia Employment Commission reported yesterday. As recently as August, unemployment exceeded 10 percent. The jobless rate for the October period last year was 10.1 percent.

The number of county residents holding jobs inched up to 15,001 in October, compared to 14,829 in September. Conversely, the number of unemployed dropped to 1,427 in October from 1,491 in September.

The number of unemployed persons has dropped by 225 since October of last year.

In another encouraging sign, the local labor force is growing, although its size in October was roughly on par with the workforce last year at this time. The VEC projects there were 16,428 members of the local civilian labor force in October, up from 16,320 in September. In October of last year, the labor force numbered 16,406.

A growing labor force generally indicates that people previously discouraged from seeking work are re-entering the job market. The monthly data for Virginia localities is seasonally unadjusted, which helps to account for falling unemployment rates as schools return to session.

The VEC reported yesterday that rising government employment has helped to fuel the improving numbers. The number of government jobs in Virginia rose by 11,300, with local school hiring boosting employment by 10,500 jobs.

Other sectors that posted job gains in October were private education and health services, professional and business services, trade and transportation, and finance. The leisure and entertainment and construction industries experienced job losses.

Across Southside, counties and cities saw modest improvements in their local job markets:

Mecklenburg County’s unemployment rate dipped to an even 9 percent in October, down from 9.1 in September, as 1,245 members of the 13,764 member civilian labor force were looking for work.

Charlotte County’s jobless rate fell from 7.8 percent in September to 7.4 percent in October.

Unemployment in the City of Danville dropped to 9.3 percent in October from 9.9 percent in September.

In Pittsylvania County, the unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.7 percent in both September and October.

Statewide, the number of unemployed workers decreased by 4,659 in October, while the labor force grew by 15,234. Seasonally adjusted unemployment fell .2 of a percent, to 5.7 percent after coming in at 5.9 percent for the prior three months.

Nationally, the unemployment rate dropped by a tenth of a point, from 7.6 percent in September to 7.5 percent in October.

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