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Jobless rate keeps steady at 3.6 percent in October / December 02, 2019

Halifax County’s unemployment rate was unchanged in October as joblessness remained at a 10-year low, 3.6 percent.

The October data mirrored September’s 3.6 percent official unemployment rate, although Halifax County experienced an uptick in the number of jobs locally — 15,133, up from the September figure of 15,072, a gain of 61 jobs.

The size of the local labor force also expanded, from 15,628 workers in September to 15,693 workers in October. The growth in the labor pool roughly matched up with job gains, keeping the county’s unemployment rate steady.

The number of people who were out of work but actively seeking jobs barely budged during the two-month period. The ranks of the unemployed numbered 560 people in October. In September it was 556.

Halifax County’s monthly unemployment rate has dipped to 3.6 percent five times over the past decade — twice in 2018, and three times in 2019. Last year in October, the official unemployment rate was 3.8 percent, and the county had 14,773 jobs — 360 fewer jobs than the Virginia Employment Commission counted in October 2019.

At the start of the decade, in January 2010, Halifax County was beset with 9.3 percent unemployment as the country was still reeling from the Great Recession. The decline over time in the county’s jobless rate has come as the U.S. continues the longest economic expansion in its history, albeit with relatively slow job and wage growth. The nation’s streak of jobs growth hit 109 months in October.

The positive jobs trends in Halifax County for October were mostly shared across the region. In Virginia localities that adjoin Halifax County, VEC data show the following:

» Mecklenburg County experienced 3.6 percent joblessness in October, up from 3.5 percent in September. Despite the higher unemployment rate, Mecklenburg added 179 jobs, rising to 12,251 overall, and the active labor pool grew, too — to a total of 12,984 workers, a gain of 189 from the month before.

» Charlotte County also posted a higher unemployment rate of 3.3 percent in October after coming in at 3.0 percent in September, but again the county experienced jobs growth during the month — with 5,345 employed persons overall, up by 101 from September.

» Pittsylvania County’s unemployment rate was unchanged from September to October, at 2.9 percent, but the number of jobs rose by 467. That gives Pittsylvania County a total of 30,422 jobs, up from 29,995 in September. Pittsylvania’s population and job numbers are each roughly twice the size of Halifax County’s.

» The jobless rate for the City of Danville dipped from 4.4 percent in September to 4.2 percent in October as the number of employed rose from 18,798 to 19,002 — a month-to-month gain of 204 jobs.

Across Virginia unemployment fell by a tenth of a percent, from 2.5 percent in September to 2.4 percent in October.

The national unemployment rate in October was 3.3 percent.

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