The Staunton-Waynesboro metro area’s jobless rate continues to run below that of the state and the nation.
According to the Virginia Employment Commission’s most recent data, released Wednesday, the rate of working-age adults seeking and unable to find jobs in the metro area stood at 2.7% of the total workforce in May. That’s up from April, when the jobless figure for the statistical area — Waynesboro, Staunton and Augusta County — stood at 2.3%, according to the VEC.
Unemployment for the three localities combined also stood at 2.7% a year prior in May 2018.
Although the rate notched up month-over-month, the metro’s combined May unemployment rate remains less than that of Virginia, which was 2.9% for the month, and the U.S. rate of 3.4%. State and national rates are seasonally adjusted to remove the effects of predictable changes, such as weather, on the labor market. Local rates are not.
Broken down, Waynesboro’s unemployment rate also increased by 0.4 percentage points from April to May, increasing from 2.6% to 3%; Staunton had a similar increase, rising from 2.4% to 2.8%; and in the county, 2.6% of residents seeking a job were unable to find one in May compared to 2.1% in April.
Compared to May 2018, Waynesboro’s jobless rate was down 0.1 percentage points, Staunton up by that amount, rising from 2.7% last year, and Augusta County showed no change.
Statewide, the unemployment rate rose 0.4 percentage points in May compared to the prior month, when it stood at 2.5 percent, and up 0.1 compared to May 2018’s 2.8 percent.
Nationally, unemployment held steady, rising only by 0.1 percentage points from April to May and down 0.2 points compared to May 2018.
The Staunton-Waynesboro Metropolitan Statistical Area also continues be lower than nearly every other MSA in the Shenandoah Valley, with only the Virginia portion of the Winchester MSA reporting a slightly lower jobless rate of 2.6%. The Harrisonburg MSA, which includes Rockingham County, stood at 3% unemployment for the month.
Elsewhere in the region, the jobless rate for the Charlottesville metro area, which includes Albemarle County, increased from 2.2% in April to 2.7% in May. Broken down, Charlottesville’s unemployment jumped by 0.7 percentage points from the previous month, rising from 2% to 2.7%; Albemarle’s rate also rose to 2.7% from 2.2%.
The lowest jobless figures in the state, for the most part, continued to be found in Northern Virginia, with Arlington County reporting just 2% of residents there unable to find work in May. Petersburg at 5.7%, followed by Danville’s 5.3% and Dickenson County’s 5.1% were the highest unemployment rates among Virginia localities for the month.