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Unemployment rises across region / July 11, 2019
Unemployment rates in Halifax County and throughout Southside Virginia jumped in May as more people joined the labor pool and job growth failed to keep up with the influx of available workers.

In Halifax County, the May unemployment rate hit 4.0 percent, up from 3.6 percent in April. During the two-month period, 307 workers entered the labor pool, while the economy added 238 jobs. Jobless claims rise by 69 and the unemployment rate climbed 0.4 percent.

A rising number of available workers is generally considered a sign of an improving labor market, and comes after a sluggish performance for the Southside economy in April.

Across Southside Virginia, local joblessness hovered around 3-5 percent, more in keeping with the rates posted for the area for most of 2019.

In Mecklenburg County, the jobless rate climbed to 4.2. percent in May, up from 3.6 percent in April. Mecklenburg’s labor pool grew by 169 workers, and the county added 93 new jobs. 76 new unemployment claims were filed.

The combined jobless numbers for the Southside Planning District — which includes Brunswick as well as Halifax and Mecklenburg counties — continue to be among the worst in the state. The unemployment rate for the Southside Planning District was 4.2 percent for May. Only one district posted a worst figure: the Cumberland Plateau Planning District covering Buchanan, Dickenson, Russell and Tazewell counties in western Virginia. Its combined unemployment rate for May was 4.3 percent.

Other Southside counties in the area saw their unemployment rates climb, as well. In Charlotte County, unemployment went from 3 percent in April to 3.5 percent in May; Lunenburg County’s rate climbed from 3 percent to 3.4 percent from April to May; Danville’s rate went from 5.1 percent in April to 5.3 percent in May, and the unemployment rate in Pittsylvania County crept up from 3.1 percent in April to 3.5 percent in May.

The non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Virginia climbed four-tenths percent to 2.9 percent from 2.5 percent.

Between April and May. During the same time, the country’s unadjusted rate jumped from 3.0 to 3.4 percent.

The May data was issued this week by the Virginia Employment Commission.

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