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Latest jobs figures offer mixed picture

SoVaNow.com / December 11, 2013

The latest unemployment figures are a mixed bag for counties in Southside Virginia. Mecklenburg County’s unemployment rate dropped eight-tenths of a percent since the figures were last reported in August, but saw a slight uptick between September and October. In August, Mecklenburg County’s unemployment rate was 10.2 percent, it dropped to 9.3 percent in September and rose to 9.4 percent in October, the latest month for which figures are available.

Brunswick County followed a similar pattern falling from 10.5 percent unemployment in August to 9.7 percent in September before climbing back up to 9.9 percent in October.

The Virginia Employment Commission, in its press release, offered no explanation for either the decline in unemployment numbers between August and September or the slight uptick experienced by many counties and the State between September and October.

Both Brunswick and Mecklenburg Counties experienced continued growth in their civilian labor force (CLF) – the number of people in the county available for work regardless of whether they have a job. Between August and October, Mecklenburg County’s labor force grew by 238 people, and the labor force in Brunswick grew by 37 people.

It is nearby Halifax County that showed the greatest gains, adding over 750 people to their labor force between August and October. During that same period, their unemployment rate plunged from 10.1 percent to 8.9 percent.

While the size of the labor force in all three counties is down from the numbers posted in October 2012, the unemployment rates in October 2013 are nearly as good or better than the rates posted in the same month a year ago.

In 2012 Brunswick County’s CLF was 6,570. It dropped to 6,375 in October 2013. Halifax County’s CLF in October 2012 was 15,772. In October 2013 it was 15,705. And Mecklenburg County’s CLF in October 2012 was 13,124. In October 2013 it dropped to 12,333.

Despite the improvement in job numbers Brunswick and Mecklenburg Counties continue to rank number one and number two, respectively, among counties with the highest unemployment rate. Halifax County has the sixth highest unemployment rate among counties in the State.

Locally, Charlotte County posted a 7.2% unemployment rate in October, down from 7.8 percent in August, and Lunenburg County’s unemployment rate dropped from 7.9 percent in August to 7.7 percent in October.

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