Employment rate held steady in May

Employment rate held steady in May 2Governor Glenn Youngkin today announced the number of employed Virginians expanded to more than 4.2 million workers in May 2022. Virginia has added nearly 80,000 since February. Virginia’s unemployment rate held steady at 3 percent in May. This continues to be below the national rate, which was unchanged at 3.6 percent. The Commonwealth’s labor force participation rate, measuring the proportion of the civilian population age 16 and older that is employed or actively looking for work, rose by 0.3 percent to 63.8 percent in May.

According to BLS household survey data, the number of employed residents rose by 18,134 to 4,218,336. In recent months, employment growth has accelerated. April’s employment growth was the eighth-largest monthly increase, while May’s was the tenth-largest going back to 1976. The Commonwealth’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 3 percent is 1.1 percentage points below the rate from a year ago. The labor force increased by 17,175 to 4,347,177, as the number of unemployed residents decreased by 959 to 128,841.

“I’m encouraged, after one of the worst job recoveries from the pandemic in the nation, nearly 80,000 more Virginians are working today than when I took office,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “Virginia is heading in the right direction. We are focused on getting Virginians back to work and expanding opportunity across the Commonwealth. While our labor force participation continues to increase, with fewer people working than before the pandemic there is still plenty of room for growth.”

“Since the height of pandemic unemployment in April 2020, the number of unemployed residents has decreased by over 385,500,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Caren Merrick. “This undoubtedly shows that Virginians are getting back to work, and that the state economy is improving.”

“The May unemployment rate of 3.0% is approaching the near historically low pre-pandemic unemployment rate of 2.7%” said Secretary of Labor Bryan Slater. “We are also encouraged by the continued increase of employed Virginians.”

Virginia nonfarm payrolls increased by 7,000 to 4,044,400 in May. From May 2021 to May 2022, the VEC estimates that establishments in Virginia gained 125,000 jobs, an increase of 3.2%. In May, the private sector recorded an over-the-year gain of 110,300 jobs, while the public sector gained 14,700 jobs.

Compared to a year ago, on a seasonally adjusted basis, nine of eleven major industry divisions experienced employment increases while two saw employment decreases. The largest over-the-year job gain occurred in Leisure and Hospitality, up 64,000 jobs (+18.8%). The second-largest over-the-year job gain occurred in Education and Health Services, up 20,500 jobs (+3.8%). The third largest over-the-year job gain occurred in Government, up 14,700 jobs (+2.1%). Other job gains occurred in Professional and Business Services (+12,500 jobs), Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (+8,700 jobs), Miscellaneous Services (+6,300 jobs), Information (+2,700 jobs), Manufacturing (+600 jobs), and Mining and Logging (+200 jobs).

Within Government, Local (+10,400 jobs), State (+4,300 jobs), and Federal employment held steady. The job losses occurred in Finance (-4,200 jobs) to 205,700 and Construction, with a decrease of 1,000 jobs to 205,100.

For more details, visit the Virginia Employment Commission’s website at vec.virginia.gov.