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Mecklenburg County jobless rate falls to 3.6 percent / June 05, 2019

The April jobs report released by the Virginia Employment Commission on Wednesday paints a rosy employment picture across Southside Virginia.

In Mecklenburg County, the unemployment rate fell from 4.2 percent in March to 3.6 percent in April. In Halifax County, the plunge in the jobless rate was the same: going from 4.2 percent to 3.6 percent from March to April.

Unemployment in Brunswick County plummeted from 5.5 percent in March to 4.3 percent in April — a 22 percent decline in the official jobless rate.

Each county saw job growth over the same period. Halifax County’s economy grew by 77 jobs, Brunswick added 67 and Mecklenburg 28 between March and April.

Perhaps the only downbeat note in the April jobs report was the lack of growth in the local labor pool; all three counties saw a slight shrinkage in the workforce between March and April. Mecklenburg saw 47 people exit the labor force, Halifax County lost 15, and Brunswick lost four workers.

In a year-over-year comparison, Mecklenburg and Halifax counties saw significant economic growth. Between April 2018 and April 2019, the number of employed workers in Mecklenburg County was up by 535. Next door in Halifax County, that number grew by 147. Only Brunswick County saw a dip in its economy, losing 46 jobs.

It’s been several years since the employment picture in Southside Virginia matched the positive trend across the U.S. In April, the country added 263,000 new hires and saw the unemployment rate fall to 3.0 percent, the lowest in a generation, according to the U.S. Labor Department.

Other nearby counties and cities saw their unemployment rates drop between three and eight-tenths percent between March and April. Pittsylvania County’s rate slid from 3.6 percent in March to 3.1 percent in April. The City of Danville received a boost as its unemployment rate went from 5.4 percent to 5.1 percent between March and April. Lunenburg County also saw its unemployment rate fall from 3.3 percent in March to 3.0 percent in April.

Of local counties, Charlotte County’s jobless numbers showed the greatest improvement, dropping from 3.8 percent in March to 3.0 percent in April.

The seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate in Virginia during the same period slid to 2.5 percent from 3.0 percent, and the U.S. rate fell from 3.9 percent to 3.0 percent.

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