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Lackluster jobs report in March

SoVaNow.com / May 08, 2019
After several positive months, the March jobs report for Mecklenburg County proved to be lackluster.

While the county’s unemployment rate fell from 4.4 percent in February to 4.2 percent in March, that was most likely because the decline in available workers outpaced job losses themselves, according to data released Wedsnesday by the Virginia Employment Commission.

Between February and March, Mecklenburg County shed 163 workers in the active labor force, dropping from 12,660 to 12,497. At the same time, then county lost 133 jobs, from 12,106 to 11,973. Unemployment claims also fell from 554 in February to 524 in March.

In comparison, Mecklenburg saw record low unemployment for the last four months of 2018, hovering between 3.7 and 3.9 percent. An increasing number of workers — 612 — returned to the labor force between September and February while at the same time the local economy added 708 jobs.

Still, the employment picture in Mecklenburg for March 2019 was better than the same month in 2018 when the labor force stood at 11,991. In March 2018 the county reported 11,386 jobs and 605 jobless workers, and the unemployment rate stood at 5 percent.

Next door, Halifax County also got a lackluster report on the March labor market. Halifax saw a slight uptick in the number of available workers and jobs and a dip in its jobless claims, but only saw a two-tenths percent decrease in its jobless rate from 4.4 percent in February to 4.2 percent in March.

The county’s civilian labor force grew by four persons, from 15,244 in February to 15,248 in March, as the number of jobs rose from 14,571, to 14,601 and unemployment claims fell from 673 to 647. As with Mecklenburg County, Halifax faces a much brighter picture in 2019 than in March 2018, when its unemployment rate was at 4.7 percent, and there were only 15,087 available workers for 14,383 jobs. 704 people were jobless.

Between February and March 2019, Brunswick County lost 78 workers as its civilian labor force fell from 6,007 in February to 5,929 in March. During the same period the number of jobs slid from 5,635 to 5,601 and the number of jobless claims went from down from 372 to 328.

The result was a seven-tenths percent drop in Brunswick’s unemployment rate, from 6.2 percent in February to 5.5 percent in March.

Charlotte County, the City of Danville and Lunenburg County saw their unemployment figures remain flat at 3.8 percent, 5.4 percent and 3.3 percent, respectively. Pittsylvania County’s jobless rate dipped slightly from 3.7 to 3.6 percent between February and March.

Virginia’s unemployment rate slipped from 3.2 percent in February to 3.0 percent in March.

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