Hampton Roads seasonally adjusted employment declined by 1,100 in February of 2015, continuing a six month pattern of alternating gains with losses. Employment has grown by 2,800 over that time period, but this uneven recovery creates both economic uncertainty as well as preventing the region from returning to pre-recession levels of employment. If the region began adding jobs at its long-term average rate, it would take four years to recover the 24,500 positions lost.
Healthcare and social assistance firms have seen the largest employment growth over the past year (+1,900), while Federal (-1,700) and local government employment (-1,400) have both declined. Both the federal and local government employment declines are the result of continued weakness in revenues as a result of the great recession, and adjusting to the new budget environment.
Unemployment Rate Increases in 2015
The Hampton Roads unemployment rate increased in January and February of 2015 (seasonally adjusted), and now lies only one percentage point below that of the nation. As can be seen from the graphic below, the regional unemployment rate follows a similar pattern to that of the nation, but has seen the gap decline to a level only seen once before in the past 25 years.