By Randy Arrington
LURAY, Sept. 2 — On Wednesday, the Virginia Employment Commission released July 2021 Local Area Unemployment Rates that show Page County’s jobless claims fell a half-point from June and came in at the lowest level since November 2020.
With 536 claims for unemployment insurance among a workforce of 12,363 — Page County reported a jobless rate of 4.3 percent for July 2021. In June, that figure stood at 4.8 percent. Employment in the county totaled 11,827 for July — an increase of 139 over June. There were 63 fewer unemployment claims filed.
In July 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic was subsiding from its initial peak and many businesses were still shutdown, the county’s jobless rate stood at 7.6 percent with 914 unemployment claims being filed. This July, Page County had 707 more people employed than it did a year ago.
Page’s unemployment rate has declined since starting the year at a peak of 7.8 percent in January.
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 3.3 percent for July 2021, a decrease of a half-point below June’s 3.8 percent. Every jurisdiction across the region saw drops in unemployment claims from June to July, averaging about a half-point. The planning district reported a jobless rate of 6.3 percent in July 2020 with 7,962 claims for unemployment insurance, compared to 4,262 this July.
Neighboring Madison County once again posted the lowest unemployment rate in Virginia at 2.6 percent. Nearby Frederick County came in third statewide as one of three jurisdictions with a jobless rate of 2.9 percent, along with Falls Church and Poquoson cities. The City of Petersburg continues to report the highest unemployment rate in the commonwealth at 10.3 percent. The next highest rate was in the City of Martinsville at 7.6 percent.
Here’s a look at July 2021 unemployment rates across the region and rankings among Virginia’s 133 localities:
• 2.6% — Madison County, 1st
• 2.9% — Frederick County, 3rd
• 3.0% — Rappahannock County, 6th
• 3.1% — Clarke and Rockingham counties, 9th
• 3.4% — City of Winchester, 29th
• 3.5% — Shenandoah County, 37th
• 3.6% — Warren County, 42nd
• 4.2% — City of Harrisonburg, 77th
• 4.3% — Page County, 83rd
Virginia posted a statewide unemployment rate of 4.1 percent for July 2021, down from 5.0 in June. One year ago, the Commonwealth posted a jobless rate of 8.1 percent with 354,094 unemployment claims. Those claims dropped to 174,994 this July.
The U.S. unemployment rate for July 2021 stood at 5.7 percent, a slight decrease from June’s 6.1 percent. Last year, U.S. unemployment for July was 10.5 percent.