By Randy Arrington
LURAY, Feb. 7 — The Virginia Employment Commission recently released December 2021 Local Area Unemployment Rates that show Page County’s jobless claims fell for a sixth-straight month. Unemployment rates remained steady or increased by as much as a half-percent compared to November in other localities across the region.
With 369 claims for unemployment insurance among a workforce of 12,117 — Page County reported a jobless rate of 3.0 percent for December 2021. In November, that figure stood at 3.1 percent — the lowest rate since November 2019. Employment in the county totaled 11,748 for December — a decrease of 270 jobs from November. There were nine fewer unemployment claims filed.
In December 2020, the county’s jobless rate stood at 6.7 percent with 799 unemployment claims filed. This December, Page County had 691 more people employed than it did a year ago.
Page’s unemployment rate generally declined throughout the year since starting at a peak of 7.6 percent in January 2021. December’s rate is the lowest since Page County reported 2.8 percent unemployment just over two years 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 December 2021, a slight increase from November’s 2.3 percent. Four of six jurisdictions in the planning district saw an increase in unemployment claims from November to December. The planning district reported a jobless rate of 4.7 percent in December 2020 with 5,833 claims for unemployment insurance, compared to 3,257 this December.
Madison County reported the lowest unemployment rate in Virginia for December at 1.6 percent. The City of Petersburg continued to report the highest unemployment rate in the commonwealth at 9.0 percent.
Here’s a look at December 2021 unemployment rates across the region and rankings among Virginia’s 133 localities:
• 1.6% — Madison County, 1st
• 2.0% — Rockingham County, 10th
• 2.1% — Rappahannock County, 15th
• 2.3% — Clarke County, 37th
• 2.4% — Shenandoah County, 46th
• 2.5% — Frederick County, 55th
• 2.6% — City of Winchester, 65th
• 2.7% — City of Harrisonburg, 77th
• 2.9% — Warren County, 86th
• 3.0% — Page County, 94th
Virginia posted a statewide unemployment rate of 2.7 percent for December 2021 (same as November). One year ago, the Commonwealth posted a jobless rate of 5.7 percent with 243,507 unemployment claims. Those claims dropped to 113,211 this December.
The U.S. unemployment rate for December 2021 stood at 3.7 percent, a slight decrease from November’s 3.9 percent. Last year, U.S. unemployment for December was at 6.5 percent with more than 10.4 million out of work. This December, nationwide jobless claims dropped to less than 6 million.