By Randy Arrington
LURAY, April 29 — On Wednesday, the Virginia Employment Commission released March 2021 Local Area Unemployment Rates that show Page County’s jobless claims fell by half a percentage point from February to March, and have dropped 1.2 percent over the last two months.
With 754 claims for unemployment insurance among a workforce of 11,748 — Page County reported a jobless rate of 6.4 percent for March 2021. Employment in the county totaled 10,994 for March — an increase of 136 over February.
Page’s civilian labor force grew by 62 from the previous month, while 74 fewer unemployment claims were filed. Compared to March 2020, there were 212 fewer wage earners in the labor force countywide and 165 more claims for unemployment insurance. One year ago, just as the COVID-19 pandemic was hitting Virginia, Page County’s unemployment rate stood at 4.9 percent.
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 should continue to decline throughout spring. In November, the local unemployment rate stood at just 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 4.4 percent for March 2021, a decrease of two-tenths of a percent from February. The planning district reported a jobless rate of 2.7 percent one year ago. Every jurisdiction in the region showed either a decrease in jobless claims or remained the same from February to March — there were no increases reported. Page County showed the largest decrease in the region month-to-month.
Here’s a look at unemployment rates across the region for March 2021 and their rank among Virginia’s 133 counties and cities:
• 3.2% — Madison County, 1st;
• 3.8% — Frederick County, 4th;
• 3.9% — Clarke and Rappahannock counties, 6th;
• 4.0% — Rockingham County, 12th;
• 4.6% — Shenandoah County and the City of Winchester, 39th;
• 4.7% — Warren County, 46th;
• 5.2% — City of Harrisonburg, 68th;
• 6.4% — Page County, 106th.
March’s lowest unemployment rate in Virginia was once again reported in Madison County at 3.2 percent. The month’s highest unemployment rate in the Commonwealth of 12.9 percent was again reported in the City of Petersburg — one of only two localities in the state with double-digit unemployment. The City of Emporia reported a rate of 10 percent.
Virginia posted a statewide unemployment rate of 5.1 percent for March 2021, a drop from 5.4 in February. One year ago, the Commonwealth posted a jobless rate of 2.8 percent just prior to the first wave of the pandemic.
The U.S. unemployment rate for March 2021 stood at 6.2 percent, a decrease of fourth-tenths of a percent from February. Month-to-month, the U.S. saw employment grow by nearly one million in March as the civilian labor force increased by 389,000 and jobless claims fell by 581,000.
For additional information on who is claiming 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 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
Page County unemployment drops to 4.3% in November
Page County unemployment falls to 4.5% in October
Page County unemployment drops to 5.5% in September
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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