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August Economic Indicators Signal Continued Labor Market Strength

Governor Glenn Youngkin has announced an increase of just over 7,300 more employed Virginians in August, bringing the total to 226,954 more Virginians employed since January 2022. The labor force participation rate held steady at 66.7 percent, maintaining the highest rate since November 2012. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) Local Area Unemployment Statistics (“LAUS,” or the “household survey”), the labor force in Virginia increased this month by 3,966 to 4,601,469, the largest number of workers since counting began in 1976.

“Our commonsense agenda continues to deliver results for families and local businesses across the Commonwealth, and Virginians are showing confidence by entering the labor force and achieving record highs,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “Virginians continue to fill the good-paying jobs available across the Commonwealth, and companies in Virginia are expanding and investing in our local communities. Together, we can accelerate this progress and move Virginia to new heights.”

The labor force participation rate, which measures the proportion of the civilian population aged 16 and older that is employed or actively looking for work, remained unchanged at 66.7 percent in August, continuing the highest labor force participation rate experienced in Virginia since November 2012.

According to BLS Local Area Unemployment Statistics (“LAUS”, or “the household survey”), Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in August remained unchanged at 2.5 percent, which is 0.3 percentage points below the rate from a year ago. The labor force increased by 3,966 to 4,601,469 as the number of unemployed residents decreased by 3,382 to 112,959. The number of employed residents increased by 7,348 to 4,488,510 and Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is 1.3 percentage points below the national rate, which increased by 0.3 percentage points to 3.8 percent.

“The Commonwealth continued to add employment in August,” said Secretary of Labor Bryan Slater. “We are maintaining the momentum in Virginia by providing resources for our employers and workers like universal licensing recognition (ULR), and the formation of the new Department of Workforce Development and Advancement will assist this progress in the future.”

“Nearly 227,000 more Virginians are employed in the Commonwealth since January 2022, making Virginia a national growth leader,” said Secretary of Commerce Caren Merrick. “As a resource for this expanding job market, we remain committed to providing a range of services and manufacturing opportunities for businesses and workers.”

BLS publishes an additional employment figure from its Current Employment Statistics Survey (“CES” or “establishment survey”). The CES survey uses payroll records of establishment employers and is designed to provide a count of jobs under which the employer pays unemployment insurance. The LAUS survey is based on household interviews conducted each month for the Bureau of Labor Statistics and provides comprehensive data on the labor force, including those who are employed and unemployed. Establishment survey data reflects changes for updated seasonal adjustment factors, and industry classification conversions (NAICS), as part of the annual benchmarking process.

The household survey only distinguishes between whether a person is employed or unemployed, whereas CES counts each employee that is on an employer’s payroll. CES excludes business owners, self-employed persons, unpaid volunteers and private household workers, and those on unpaid leave or not working because of a labor dispute.

Seasonally adjusted total nonfarm employment data is produced for eleven industry sectors. In August, five experienced over-the-month job gains, and six experienced a decline. The largest job gain occurred in Government (+4,200) to 741,400. The second largest job gain occurred in Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (+2,200) to 668,200. The third largest job gain occurred in Education and Health Services (+2,000) to 579,400. The other gains were in Financial Activities (+900) to 217,200; and Information (+900) to 73,100.

For more details, visit the Virginia Employment Commission’s website at vec.virginia.gov.

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