By Randy Arrington
LURAY, Dec. 8 — The Virginia Employment Commission recently released October 2021 Local Area Unemployment Rates that show Page County’s jobless claims fell for a fourth-straight month and currently sit at the lowest level since November 2019. Rates fell all across the commonwealth with half of the localities in Virginia reporting less than 3 percent unemployment for October, the most recent figures available.
With 438 claims for unemployment insurance among a workforce of 12,516 — Page County reported a jobless rate of 3.5 percent for October 2021. In September, that figure stood at 3.7 percent. Employment in the county totaled 12,078 for October — an increase of 289 jobs over September. There were 10 fewer unemployment claims filed.
In October 2020, the county’s jobless rate stood at 4.9 percent with 593 unemployment claims filed. This October, Page County had 545 more people employed than it did a year ago.
Page’s unemployment rate has generally declined throughout the year since starting at a peak of 7.6 percent in January. October’s rate is the lowest since Page County reported 2.8 percent unemployment 23 months ago.
During the initial surge of unemployment claims filed in late March 2020 and early April 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic first hit the region, Page County saw a peak of 556 claims filed in just one week (April 4, 2020). April 2020 saw a total of 1,507 claims for unemployment insurance filed in the county.
The Lord Fairfax Planning District reported a regional unemployment rate of 2.6 percent for October 2021, a slight decrease from September’s 2.7 percent. Every jurisdiction in the planning district saw slight drops in unemployment claims from September to October. The planning district reported a jobless rate of 4.2 percent in October 2020 with 5,274 claims for unemployment insurance, compared to 3,243 this October.
Highland County reported the lowest unemployment rate in Virginia for October at 1.7 percent. Three other localities also reported under 2 percent unemployment, including neighboring Madison County at 1.9 percent. The City of Petersburg continued to report the highest unemployment rate in the commonwealth at 8.6 percent.
Here’s a look at October 2021 unemployment rates across the region and rankings among Virginia’s 133 localities:
• 1.9% — Madison County, 3rd
• 2.2% — Clarke County, 8th
• 2.3% — Frederick and Rockingham counties, 14th
• 2.4% — Rappahannock and Shenandoah counties, 18th
• 2.6% — Warren County, 39th
• 2.8% — City of Winchester, 58th
• 3.4% — City of Harrisonburg, 92nd
• 3.5% — Page County, 99th
Virginia posted a statewide unemployment rate of 3.0 percent for October 2021, down from 3.2 percent in September. One year ago, the Commonwealth posted a jobless rate of 5.7 percent with 243,607 unemployment claims. Those claims dropped to 126,949 this October.
The U.S. unemployment rate for October 2021 stood at 4.3 percent, a decrease from September’s 4.6 percent. Last year, U.S. unemployment for October was at 6.6 percent with more than 10.6 million out of work. This October, nationwide jobless claims dropped to 6.9 million.