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Jobless rate drops, but so does number of total jobs

SoVaNow.com / April 11, 2013
Halifax County’s unemployment rate dropped in February at the same time the number of jobs also declined, presenting a mixed picture even as Virginia’s labor market overall made modest gains.

The county’s jobless rate in February was 9.3 percent, an improvement from the 9.9 percent rate reported in January. However, the Virginia Employment Commission counted only 14,131 jobs locally in February, a decline of 74 from January, when Halifax County reported a total of 14,205 jobs.

The trends reflect a shrinking workforce and the effects of seasonal employment trends. The county’s civilian labor pool fell to 15,576 persons. Last year at the same time, there were 16,048 active members of the labor force.

The trend was similar for neighboring Mecklenburg County, where the jobless rate fell from 10.7 percent in January to 9.9 percent in February. However, Mecklenburg’s labor force dipped from 13,241 persons in January to 12,976 in February.

Brunswick County saw its unemployment rate drop a full percentage point, from 11.4 percent in January to 10.4 percent in February.

The trend was also felt west in Pittsylvania County, where the unemployment rate fell from 7.5 percent in January to 6.8 perecent in February, and the labor force shrank by nearly 500 members.

Among Southside Virginia counties, only Charlotte County posted an increase in the labor force. It rose to 5,211 in February, up from January’s figure of 5,196.

Charlotte’s jobless rate dropped from 8.4 percent to 8.1 percent, as only 422 residents were looking for work in February, compared with 439 in January.

Statewide, the unemployment rate in February dropped to 5.7 percent, down from 6.2 percent in January. Across the nation, the rate fell to 8.1 percent from 8.5 percent in February.



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