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Mecklenburg County gains back lost jobs / August 04, 2021

A resurgent economy in Southside Virginia delivered another strong month of employment gains despite an across-the-board rise in local jobless rates in June.

Labor force participation and available jobs increased for the third consecutive month in six Southside counties from Brunswick to Pittsylvania.

Brunswick County’s unemployment rate rose from 6.5 percent in May to 7 percent in June

» Charlotte County’s jobless rate went from 4.0 to 4.6 percent in that same period

» Halifax County’s rate rose from 4.8 to 5.3 percent

» Lunenburg County’s rate went from 3.8 to 4.3 percent

» Mecklenburg County’s rate went from 4.9 to 5.1 percent

» Pittsylvania’s rate went from 4.1 to 4.6 percent.

Nevertheless, the Virginia Employment Commission this week reported that 1,054 workers were added to payrolls in Brunswick, Charlotte, Halifax, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg and Pittsylvania Counties during the May-June period, and labor force participation increased by 1,238 workers during that same period.

In Mecklenburg County, payrolls rose by 180 persons in June, raising the number of employed workers to 12,294.

Over the past three months, Brunswick, Charlotte, Halifax, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, and Pittsylvania have recovered 52.9 percent of the nearly 5,700 jobs lost last spring at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic — a total of 3,011 people who are back at work after being idled amid the downturn.

Mecklenburg County’s June 2021 workforce of 12,294 persons now exceeds pre-pandemic employment levels of 11,867, posted in February 2020.

Labor force participation across the six counties is also on the rise — up by 2,474 workers between March and June 2021, though this figure still lags behind pre-pandemic levels in five of the six counties. Mecklenburg is the exception.

» Mecklenburg County’s active workforce stands at 12,954 as of June 2021, compared to 12,384 in February 2020. The county added 520 workers to its labor force between March 2021 and June 2021.

» Brunswick County reports 5,893 workers in June 2021, compared to 6,042 workers in February 2020.

» Charlotte County’s workforce is down by 100 persons, from 5,314 in February 2020 to 5,214 in June 2021.

» Halifax County reported 15,543 available workers in June, down by 160 available workers from February, when the number was 15,703.

» Lunenburg reported 5,292 workers as of June 2021, compared to 5,350 in February 2020.

» Pittsylvania County’s labor force is down to 30,128 as of June 2021, compared to the 30,339 workers reported in February 2020.

National economists attribute the upward employment trends to two factors: a slight easing of the labor supply constraints that have been holding back the jobs market in recent months, as well as continued momentum from the economic reopening. It is unclear if these trends will hold, particularly in areas where the number of COVID cases, including variants, are again on the rise.

This uptick in COVID-19 is primarily occurring in areas with lower vaccination coverage, such as the six counties in Southside Virginia where, on average, less than 50 percent of adults and only 39.1 percent of the total population are fully vaccinated.

In the past ten days the Virginia Department of Health has reported:

» Brunswick County, 9 new cases.

» Charlotte County, 9 new cases.

» Halifax County, 28 new cases.

» Lunenburg County, 8 new cases.

» Mecklenburg County, 54 new cases.

» Pittsylvania County, 53 new cases.

For June the unemployment rate in Virginia was up 0.4 percent, to 4.5 percent from May’s 4.1 percent.

The unadjusted unemployment rate for the United States climbed from 5.5 percent in May to 6.1 percent in June.

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