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Mecklenburg adds jobs, expands workforce in March / May 09, 2018

Mecklenburg County added 85 new jobs to the local economy in March and 64 new workers to the active labor pool, according to the most recent jobs report from the Virginia Employment Commission. The net result was drop in the county’s jobless rate from 5.2 percent in February to 5.0 percent in March.

This is the second straight month Mecklenburg has seen an uptick in both the number of jobs and the size of the labor force, but the overall jobs picture is lagging when compared to the same month in 2017. In March 2017, Mecklenburg County had 12,387 workers in the active labor pool and 11,741 people who actually held down employment.

It is too soon to tell if this latest snapshot of the county’s economy reflects a turnaround, since the unemployment rate has hovered around between 4.8 percent and 5.8 percent over the past year.

For the most part, the March 2018 jobs report for Southside Virginia was fairly lackluster. Lunenburg County’s jobless rate dropped from 4.1 percent in February to 3.9 percent in March, Halifax County’s rate went down from 4.8 percent to 4.7 percent, and Charlotte County’s jobless rate also dropped, going from 4.3 percent to 4.2 percent.

Brunswick County showed the greatest improvement in the labor market, adding 35 jobs and 19 new workers to its active work force, resulting in an unemployment rate drop from 5.7 percent in February to 5.4 percent in March. Like Mecklenburg County, Brunswick has fewer jobs and available workers than it did in March 2017. The number of workers in Brunswick County’s labor force in March 2017 was 6,180, compared to 5,967 in March 2018. The number of jobs in March 2017 was 5,833, compared to 5,645 in March 2018.

The national unemployment rate dipped to 4.1 percent in March from 4.4 percent in February, while in Virginia the rate remained fixed at 3.9 percent.

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