Virginia unemployment rate drops to 3.5 percent

This is a half percent decrease from a year ago


RICHMOND, Va.Virginia's unemployment rate is down a tenth of a percent as of February, and a half percent down from a year ago, according to Gov. Ralph Northam.

"This is a tremendous new milestone for the commonwealth's economy and affirms our efforts to fill the jobs of the 21st century with a first-class workforce," said Northam. 

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 3.5 percent is the lowest rate since April 2008. In February, the labor force expanded by 3,950 after declining for the previous four months. The labor force reached 4,320,994-- a new record high.

Virginia's unemployment rate continues to be below the national rate, which was unchanged again in February at 4.1 percent. It is the second lowest seasonally adjusted unemployment rate among southeast states, behind Tennessee at 3.4 percent.

Virginia, along with Massachusetts, has the seventh-best rate among the states east of the Mississippi. Virginia is also tied with Massachusetts for the seventeenth-lowest unemployment rate in the nation.

Over-the-year employment in Virginia has seen positive growth for 47 consecutive months. February's over-the-year employment growth was 0.9 percent, which was stronger than the growth of the previous five months.

The private sector recorded an over-the-year gain of 36,500 jobs, while the public sector lost 200. Compared to a year ago, eight of the 11 major industry divisions experienced employment gains, while the remaining three experienced losses.