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Halifax County jobless rate falls to 5.1 percent in October / December 04, 2017
Unemployment in Halifax County ticked down in October to 5.1 percent, from a September rate of 5.2 percent.

However, the lower official unemployment rate reflected not a pickup in jobs, but rather more workers exiting the active labor pool. There were fewer jobs in Halifax County in October (13,958) than in September (14,149), a drop of 191 positions.

The active work force — made up of employed persons as well as those who are out of work but seeking jobs — also declined in size, falling by 226 from September to October.

With the active labor pool shrinking faster than the overall number of jobs, the result was an 0.1 percent decline in the county’s unemployment rate.

There were 746 unemployed Halifax County residents actively seeking work in in October, compared to 781 in September.

While the labor market arguably worsened over the two-month period, data released this week by the Virginia Employment Commissions cast Halifax County in a better light this year than in the same period a year earlier.

In October 2016, the county had 13,781 persons at work, out of an active labor force of 14,601. The October 2017 numbers show a gain of 177 jobs over the year’s time, while the labor pool grew by 103 persons, to 14,704.

Local unemployment rates reported by the VEC are not seasonally adjusted to take into account normal shifts in month-to-month labor patterns.

Jobless rates across Southside Virginia mostly edged down in October, with Brunswick County being an exception: unemployment there was 5.4 percent in October, up from 5.3 percent in September. Several localities — Charlotte, Lunenburg and Mecklenburg counties and the City of Danville — saw no change in unemployment rates.

The lowest unemployment in the region was reported in Lunenburg County, with a rate of 4.0 percent for October. That figure still was higher than the statewide average of 3.5 percent. Virginia has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation.

Elsewhere in Southside Virginia, the jobs numbers in October were as follows:

» Charlotte County had a 4.5 percent jobless rate for the month, the same as in September. Charlotte had 4,888 persons on the job in October, compared to 4,969 in September.

» Mecklenburg had a jobless rate of 4.9 percent, unchanged from September. The number of jobs in Mecklenburg declined by 171 in October, to 11,537 from 11,708 in September.

» Danville had an October unemployment rate of 5.6 percent, unchanged from September.

» The rate in Pittsylvania County fell to 4.2 percent, from 4.3 percent in September.

Virginia added 38,017 jobs in October as the October unemployment rate slid to 3.5 percent, down 0.1 percent from September. The national unemployment rate was 3.9 percent, compared to 4.1 percent in September.

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