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Unemployment rate back in double digits

SoVaNow.com / July 03, 2013


As more people re-enter the job market across Southside Virginia, unemployment rates spiked upward in May, according to the latest data from the Virginia Employment Commission.

Mecklenburg County’s unemployment rate rose to 10.0 percent in May from 9.1 percent in April, Halifax joblessness jumped to 9.2 percent in May from the April rate of 8.5 percent, and Brunswick’s unemployment rate climbed sixth-tenths from 9.2 percent in April to 9.8 percent in May.

Mecklenburg County last saw double-digit unemployment in February 2013, when it posted an unemployment rate of 10.2 percent. The county remains at the bottom of the area in terms of high joblessness, coming in 127th out of 134 cities and counties around the state. Brunswick and Halifax counties do not fare much better. Brunswick is ranked at 126th and Halifax is 124th.

On the positive side, all three counties saw their civilian labor pools increase, an indication that people are once again looking for work. Brunswick posted the lowest growth, adding only 90 workers to their pool, Mecklenburg added 159, and Halifax’s pool grew by 179 workers. The civilian labor pool is the number of people either holding jobs are seeking work in any locality.

Also, the three counties each saw the number of available jobs increase slightly between April and May. Brunswick County added 42 new jobs, Halifax County added 48 jobs, and Mecklenburg County added 37 jobs. Still, the overall employment picture in the Southside Planning District is worse than it was 12 months ago. Mecklenburg County is down 584 jobs, Halifax is down 200 jobs, and Brunswick is down 176 jobs since May 2012.

Across the United States, the leisure and healthcare services sectors showed continued expansion in hiring. Locally, these same two sectors ranked third and fifth among industries in the Southside Planning District (Brunswick, Halifax, and Mecklenburg counties) with the largest number of claimants. In May, 17 claimants listed their last employment as being in healthcare, and 8 reported their last job as being in the accommodations and food service business.

The two trade groups with the most unemployment claims were administrative support and construction, each with 22 claimants.

The jobless rate in this region, which averages at 9.7 percent, remains far above the national rate, which ticked up to 7.6 percent in May.

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

Charlotte County, 7.8 percent, up from 6.6 percent in April, and Lunenburg County, 8.3 percent, up from 7.6 percent in April.

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