By Randy Arrington
LURAY, July 1 — On Wednesday, the Virginia Employment Commission released May 2021 Local Area Unemployment Rates that show Page County’s jobless claims dropped another 0.4 percent from April to May, and have fallen 3.1 percent over the last four months.
With 534 claims for unemployment insurance among a workforce of 11,993 — Page County reported a jobless rate of 4.5 percent for May 2021. Employment in the county totaled 11,459 for May — an increase of 112 over April, while 41 fewer unemployment claims were filed. Compared to May 2020 — when the COVID-19 pandemic was on the rise, many businesses shutdown and the county’s jobless rate stood at 11.1 percent — the number of unemployment claims fell from 1,314 a year ago, to only 534 this May.
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 four months reported (February through May). The county’s 4.5 percent rate in May was the lowest reported since before the pandemic.
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 May 2021, the same rate as April. The planning district reported a jobless rate of 8 percent in May 2020, with 9,829 claims for unemployment insurance compared to 4,263 this May. However, claims did rise by 73 across the district over April.
Here’s a look at unemployment rates across the region for May 2021 and their rank among Virginia’s 133 counties and cities:
• 2.5% — Madison County, 1st;
• 2.9% — Rappahannock County, 3rd;
• 3% — Frederick County, 5th;
• 3.2% — Rockingham County, 14th;
• 3.4% — Clarke County, 25th;
• 3.5% — Warren County, 30th;
• 3.6% — City of Winchester and Shenandoah County, 37th;
• 4.4% — City of Harrisonburg, 82nd;
• 4.5% — Page County, 87th.
In January, Page County ranked 114th among unemployment rates in Virginia’s 133 localities and has steadily moved up the rankings to reach 87th in May.
May’s lowest unemployment rate in Virginia was once again reported in Madison County at 2.5 percent. Madison came in just ahead of Falls Church City, which reported a rate of 2.8 percent. Only four localities in Virginia reported jobless rates below 3 percent, as Rappahannock County tied with King George at 2.9 percent.
The month’s highest unemployment rate in the Commonwealth of 10.6 percent was again reported in the City of Petersburg — the only locality in the state with double-digit unemployment for the second-straight month.
Virginia posted a statewide unemployment rate of 4.1 percent for May 2021, up from 3.9 in April. One year ago, the Commonwealth posted a jobless rate of 8.6 percent.
The U.S. unemployment rate for May 2021 stood at 5.5 percent, a decrease of 0.2 percent from April.
For additional information on unemployment insurance in Virginia, access the VEC’s U.I. claims data dashboard (https://www.vec.virginia.gov/ui-claims-dashboard)
Page County’s unemployment rate declines for a third-straight month to 4.9% in April
Page County’s unemployment rate declines second-straight month to 6.4% in March
Page County’s unemployment rate declines a half-percent in February, but still at 7.1%
Page County unemployment climbs to 7.6% in January, remains highest in district
Page County unemployment climbs to 5.6% in December
Virginia enacts permanent COVID-19 workplace safety, health standards
Local real estate shows substantial gains in 2020
New unemployment claims slowing, but nearly 2,000 filed since shutdown
Nearly 1,000 unemployment claims filed in Page County in four weeks
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