The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates show extremely strong growth in Hampton Roads payroll employment in February,2013; regional payrolls expanded by 4,600 from January to February, rising to 757,700 on a seasonally adjusted basis. Despite a modest decline in January, the region has added 18,000 jobs over the past 8 months.
During that same 8-month period, the state added 44,000 jobs, and the nation added 1.5 million jobs. In percentage terms the region grew at 2.43% versus 1.12 % nationally and 1.18% statewide. The region still has the specter of sequester lingering, but employment growth at this rate could lessen the blow significantly.
Job growth in Hampton Roads continues to be broad based, with Healthcare, Construction, and Administrative & Support industries all adding over 2,500 jobs in the past year. Additionally, some of the industries that have experienced continued year-over-year declines have started to show some growth, particularly Retail Trade which should translate to regional economic growth.
The regional unemployment rate declined to a seasonally adjusted 6.09% in February 2013, from 6.18% the previous month. Unfortunately, the decline in the unemployment rate can be attributed to a decrease in labor force participation rather than an increase in the number of employed individuals.