Hampton Roads employment declined by 3 jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis, bringing total non-farm employment to 729, the lowest level since March 2001 and down 52 jobs from the region’s employment peak. This was one of the worst individual months of job loss that this region has experienced and contrasts with March and April 2010 when employment appeared to be recovering in the region. Retail trade experienced the largest decline of any industry, losing 1꺜 between January and February of this year. There were also declines in the information and professional and business services industries.
The seasonally adjusted regional unemployment rate declined from 6.9% in January to 6.7% in February, however, this decline reflected a loss of almost 2 workers from the region’s labor force (19 over the past two months)as opposed to more employed individuals. The survey of households used to derive the Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) reveals a large decline in the number of individuals employed, declining by 16 over the past two months. The region’s unemployment rate reached a high of 7.62% on November 2010 on a seasonally adjusted basis.
The graph shows the divergence between the U.S. and the Hampton Roads Employment situation. Hampton Roads employment peaked five months before the nation on July 2007, and while the nation’s decline in employment started later, they have already begun to see a slow and steady increase in payroll employment.