By Randy Arrington
LURAY, June 2 — On Wednesday, the Virginia Employment Commission released April 2021 Local Area Unemployment Rates that show Page County’s jobless claims fell by 1.5 percent from March to April, and have dropped 2.7 percent over the last three months.
With 581 claims for unemployment insurance among a workforce of 11,861 — Page County reported a jobless rate of 4.9 percent for April 2021. Employment in the county totaled 11,280 for April — an increase of 266 over March, while 167 fewer unemployment claims were filed. Compared to April 2020 — when the COVID-19 pandemic was on the rise, many businesses shutdown and the county’s jobless rate spiked at 14.7 percent — the number of unemployment claims fell from 1,808 a year ago, to only 581 this April.
In January, Page County posted its highest unemployment rate since July 2020 at 7.6 percent. The seasonal uptick in jobless claims during the winter has steadily declined over the last three months reported (February through April). The county’s 4.9 percent rate in April was the lowest reported since November (4.3 percent).
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 3.4 percent for April 2021, a full point decrease from March. The planning district reported a jobless rate of 10.7 percent in April 2020, with 13,486 claims for unemployment insurance compared to 4,209 this April. Every jurisdiction in the region showed a decrease in jobless claims from March to April — with the largest drop reported in Page County (from 6.4 to 4.9 percent).
Here’s a look at unemployment rates across the region for April 2021 and their rank among Virginia’s 133 counties and cities:
• 2.3% — Madison County, 1st;
• 2.7% — Rockingham and Rappahannock counties, 3rd;
• 2.8% — Frederick County, 8th;
• 3.4% — City of Winchester, 36th;
• 3.5% — Warren County, 44th;
• 3.6% — Shenandoah County, 51st;
• 3.7% — Clarke County, 58th;
• 3.8% — City of Harrisonburg, 64th;
• 4.9% — Page County, 104th.
April’s lowest unemployment rate in Virginia was once again reported in Madison County at 2.3 percent. The month’s highest unemployment rate in the Commonwealth of 10.9 percent was again reported in the City of Petersburg — the only locality in the state with double-digit unemployment.
Virginia posted a statewide unemployment rate of 3.9 percent for April 2021, a drop from 5.1 in March. One year ago, the Commonwealth posted a jobless rate of 11 percent during the first wave of the pandemic.
The U.S. unemployment rate for April 2021 stood at 5.7 percent, a decrease of a half-point from March.