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January jobless rates rise across Southside / March 25, 2020

The jobs picture across Southside Virginia took a downward turn in January as employers shed seasonal workers.

The January jobless rate in Mecklenburg rose to 4.7 percent, back to the level last seen in June 2018 when the rate stood at 4.6 percent. It was an identical picture in neighboring Halifax County, which also posted a January unemployment rate of 4.7 percent.

Brunswick, Charlotte and Lunenburg counties experienced similar spikes. The January unemployment rate in Brunswick stood at 5.2 percent. In Charlotte, the figure was 4.1 percent and in Lunenburg, 3.2 percent.

In June 2018, Brunswick County reported a jobless rate of 5.4 percent, compared to 4.2 percent in Charlotte and 3.5 percent in Lunenburg.

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic impacting the economy, signs pointed to a slowing labor market around the region. Mecklenburg County saw its unemployment rate jump by nearly a point with the onset of the new year, with a December 2019 jobless rate of 3.9 percent yielding to a 4.7 percent rate in January.

The number of available workers in Mecklenburg fell by 27 from 12,439 in December to 12,412 in January, and the number of jobs slid down from 11,951 to 11,834 during that same period.

In Halifax County, the spike in the unemployment rate was largely driven by an influx of new workers in the labor pool, but few job openings to match. Halifax added 170 workers while shedding 12 jobs.

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