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Sentara Halifax Regional tightens visitor rules as COVID cases rise

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Jobs data point to rebound in county / July 07, 2021

Payrolls expanded in Mecklenburg County and nearby counties in May for the third consecutive month, according to the latest jobs report issued this week by the Virginia Employment Commission.

As of May, the latest month for which employment data are available, the number of employed workers in Mecklenburg County stood at 12,114. After adding 280 jobs in the past month, Mecklenburg now has more workers on the job than it did prior to the pandemic.

In February 2020, before the widespread onset of COVID-19, an estimated 11,867 county residents were actively employed.

Mecklenburg’s unemployment rate rose slightly in May to 4.9 percent as hundreds of people returned to the active labor force, slightly outpacing new job creation. The April jobless was 4.8 percent.

The local labor force grew by 309 persons in May, to 12,734 workers compared to 12,425 in April. For the past two months, the county’s labor participation rate has exceeded pre-pandemic levels, a sign that people are ready to return to the workplace. In February 2020, the county’s civilian labor force totaled 12,384 people.

Neighboring Brunswick and Halifax counties have also seen a significant jump in their payrolls in the past three months. In Halifax County, the number of employed workers rose from 13,851 in February to 14,451 in May. From April to May, Halifax added 89 jobs.

The number of jobs in Brunswick County increased from 5,382 to 5,434 between April and May. Almost 200 jobs have been added since February, when Brunswick had 5,343 people on the job.

The influx of workers and subsequent expansion of the active labor pool caused official jobless rates to rise slightly in Brunswick and Halifax, similar to Mecklenburg County. Unemployment in Brunswick increased from 6.4 to 6.5 percent in the period from April to May. Halifax County rose from 4.6 to 4.8 percent.

Workforce and job numbers surged in other nearby counties, creating the same effect seen in Mecklenburg, Brunswick, and Halifax — workers returned to the active labor force slightly faster than job postings could absorb the influx.

Charlotte County added 45 workers, 33 jobs and its unemployment rate rose from 3.8 percent in April to 4.0 percent in May.

Lunenburg County’s labor force increased by 15 and the number of jobs by 8. Its unemployment rate increased from 3.6 to 3.8 percent.

Pittsylvania County saw the number of available workers grow by 383 and jobs by 312. Pittsylvania’s unemployment rate ticked up to 4.1 percent in May from 3.9 percent in April.

All six Southside counties — Brunswick, Charlotte, Halifax, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg and Pittsylvania — saw an increase in the number of jobless claims between April and May.

In Brunswick County claims rose by 7; they were up by 12 in Charlotte County, 43 in Halifax County, 7 in Lunenburg County, 25 in Mecklenburg County and 71 in Pittsylvania County.

In Virginia the unemployment rate rose by two-tenths percent, from 3.9 percent in April to 4.1 percent in May.

The jobless rate was down across the U.S., sliding from 5.7 percent in April to 5.5 percent in May.

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