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Local jobless rate rises to 10.6 percent

SoVaNow.com / September 04, 2013
The latest unemployment figures once again brought bad news to Mecklenburg County as the local jobless rate ticked up one-tenth in July to 10.6 percent.

Ann Lang, Senior Economist with the Virginia Employment Commission, suggested that weather may have played a role in this increase causing an interruption in construction jobs in the area.

Over at Clarksville Marina, owner Beth Diamond, said weather has been a factor this year as far as the number of tourists coming to the area. She suspects, but cannot say for certain, that the weather may have hurt the number of tourism-related jobs available in the region this summer, though the marina was fully staffed all summer.

Mecklenburg County was not alone among Southside counties that saw their unemployment rates increase over the prior month. Brunswick County’s rate went from 10.4 percent in June to 10.5 percent in July, and Halifax County’s rate rose from 10 percent in June to 10.4 percent in July.

For all three counties, this was the third consecutive monthly increase in unemployment. Still, the figures for July 2013 were less than those posted a year ago when Brunswick’s unemployment rate was 11.5 percent, Halifax’s rate was 10.5 percent, and Mecklenburg posted a 10.7 percent unemployment rate.

Despite a jump in its unemployment rate, Brunswick County alone reported good news in that both its civilian labor force and the number of persons employed in the county increased in month-over-month comparisons. Brunswick’s civilian labor force increased by 42 between June and July and the number of persons employed increased by 32. The civilian labor force is the number of persons available for work regardless of whether they currently hold a job.

The Southside Planning District (SPD), which is comprised of Brunswick, Halifax, and Mecklenburg Counties, maintained its ranking as having the worst unemployment rate in the State. SPD is ranked 21st out of 21 districts, and Mecklenburg County, which by itself is ranked 127th out of 134 counties and metropolitan areas, maintained its ranking as the second worst county for unemployment, behind only Dickenson County, which is ranked 129th.

On the state level, Virginia’s rate of 5.8 percent in July was down from 5.9 percent in June. Virginia has the lowest unemployment rate among all southern states, it is ranked 13th out of 51 localities, the 50 states plus Washington, D.C.

The jobless rate in this region, which averages at 10.5 percent, remains far above the national rate for July at 7.4 percent.

Elsewhere in Southside Virginia, counties reported the following unemployment rates in July:

Charlotte County, 8.4 percent, down from 8.7 in June, and Lunenburg County, 8.6 percent, down from 8.7 percent in June.



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