Job fair

Job seekers meet with employers at the Richmond Times-Dispatch’s Fall Career Fair in September.

RICHMOND — Virginia’s unemployment rate edged down in September to 2.7%, even though payroll numbers reported by employers in the state dropped during the month.

The state’s jobless rate in September was down one-tenth of a percent from 2.8% in both August and a year ago, as the number of people counted as unemployed declined by 3,555.

The national unemployment rate was 3.5% in September.

The state’s labor force also expanded for the 15th-straight month, growing by 10,132 to more than 4.41 million.

However, employers in the state reported that payrolls were down by 14,700 jobs from August to September, a 0.4% decline.

That was the largest single-month decline in payroll employment since February 2010, said Joseph Mengedoth, associate regional economist for the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. He described the overall report as “mixed.”

Mengedoth noted that among the state’s metro areas, the only job growth from August to September was in Northern Virginia, which showed a net gain of 2,400 jobs, and in Harrisonburg and Staunton, which saw much smaller gains.

August’s total nonfarm employment also was revised downward by 1,400.

Even with the drop-off from August to September, employment still grew from September 2018 to September 2019 by 25,900 jobs, a 0.6% job-growth rate that trailed the national job-growth rate of 1.4% for the same period.

The largest job gains from September 2018 to September 2019 came from education and health services, which added 13,100 jobs, and the leisure and hospitality sector, which grew by 8,700 jobs. The professional and business services sector gained 4,800 jobs, while manufacturing added 4,800 jobs and construction employment grew by 2,100.

Virginia tied for third — with Colorado, Hawaii and Utah — for lowest unemployment rate among the states in September.

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