By Randy Arrington
LURAY, Dec. 8 — On Thursday, the Virginia Employment Commission released unemployment figures for October 2020. With 533 claims for unemployment insurance among a workforce of 11,814 — Page County reported a jobless rate of 4.5 percent for October 2020.
That continues a decline in Page County’s unemployment rate:
• 7.5% — July
• 5.8% — August
• 5.6% — September
Page County saw 246 more residents employed in October over September (from 11,035 to 11,281), while the workforce grew by 130 (from 11,684 to 11,814). There were also 116 fewer claims for unemployment insurance (from 649 to 533).
By comparison, Page County only reported 338 claims for unemployment insurance in October 2019. During the initial surge of unemployment claims being filed in late March and early April when the COVID-19 pandemic first hit the region, Page County saw a peak of 556 claims filed in just one week (April 4). The month of April saw a total of 1,507 claims for unemployment insurance filed in the county.
While Page County has not reached the 2.8 percent jobless rate it touted a year ago in September and October of 2019, the county has reached unemployment levels below February (5.4 percent) and March (5.1 percent) when the first cases of COVID-19 were being discovered within the Lord Fairfax Health District.
Here’s a look at unemployment rates in surrounding localities for October:
• 3.2% — Rockingham County;
• 3.4% — Clarke, Frederick and Rappahannock counties;
• 3.9% — Shenandoah County;
• 4.3% — Warren County;
• 4.4% — City of Harrisonburg;
• 4.7% — City of Winchester.
October’s lowest unemployment rate in Virginia was reported in Highland County at 2.5 percent. Neighboring Madison County posted the second-lowest jobless rate in the state at 2.8 percent. Poquoson City was the only other locality statewide under 3 percent (at 2.9).
October’s highest unemployment rate in the Commonwealth of 13.8 percent was reported in the City of Petersburg. The City of Portsmouth posted a jobless rate of 9.1 percent, while Richmond City reported 7.8 percent.
Virginia posted a statewide unemployment rate of 5.1 percent for October 2020 — up three-tenths from 4.8 percent in September, but down from 6.3 percent in August. One year ago, the Commonwealth posted a jobless rate of 2.7 percent.
Nationally, the U.S. unemployment rate stands at 6.6 percent — down one point from 7.7 percent in September and down nearly two points from 8.5 percent in August. In September and October of 2019, the U.S. touted an unemployment rate of only 3.3 percent.