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Mecklenburg jobless rate trends down in December, labor pool continues to shrink

SoVaNow.com / February 07, 2018
The unemployment rate in Mecklenburg County is trending downward — again.

Joblessness fell from 5.3 percent in November to 5.0 percent in December, and Mecklenburg added 24 net jobs during the month. The figures were released Wednesday by the Virginia Employment Commission.

Mecklenburg also saw a decline in the number of eligible workers claiming unemployment benefits: from 636 in November to 604 in December. The size of the labor force also fell slightly, by eight workers. The county’s civilian labor pool in December numbered 12,103.

This was the seventh straight month that Mecklenburg County has shed workers in the active labor pool. The size of the workforce is at its lowest ebb in more than two years.

Nationally, a plunge in retail jobs weighed on the labor market as brick-and-mortar stores continued to close. However, that trend has had little impact on Mecklenburg County’s overall economy.

Year-to-year comparisons show the local economy was somewhat stronger in December than in the same period a year prior. In December 2016, 648 people were actively looking for work and the unemployment rate stood at 5.2 percent.

The December jobs report was better next door in Halifax County, where 100 jobs were added to the economy and the labor pool grew by 86 workers. Unemployment claims in Halifax dropped from 758 to 744. Together these factors helped Halifax’s unemployment rate improve from 5.2 percent in November to 5.0 percent in December.

In Brunswick County, the overall number of jobs and available workers was unchanged in December. In Charlotte County, 167 workers joined the labor force in December and 188 new jobs were created. Charlotte County saw the steepest drop in unemployment in December, plunging to 4.0 percent from 4.6 percent in November.

Lunenburg County’s jobless rate slid to 3.8 percent in December, down from 4.1 percent in November.

Statewide, the unemployment rate fell from at 3.6 percent to 3.4 percent between November and December. The seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate remained fixed at 3.9 percent nationally.

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