By James Clary
The October “Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment” data was released December 7, 2010, by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and there were several important insights into the regional economy. First, payroll employment in Hampton Roads increased for the fourth straight month (measured year over year). The region added 700 jobs since June of this year. The region still has 38% fewer jobs than during the last employment peak, and will take several years at the current rate to return to previous levels of employment. While it is difficult to forecast the local implications of the nation’s weak November job’s report, the region has not experienced the same level of employment loss as the nation, and has experienced stronger job growth since the employment trough in December of 2009.
The raw unemployment rate for the region remained flat over the past two months at 7.0%, a significant decrease over unemployment rates of this summer that were as high as 7.6%. Adjusting for seasonal factors shows the unemployment rate has actually stayed regionally for the past 12 months. One area where the payroll and unemployment reports agree is that employment has been increasing in the region for the past four months.
Unemployment rates were lower in October than a year earlier in 235 of the 372 metropolitan areas, higher in 121 areas, and unchanged in 16 areas, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Ten areas recorded jobless rates of at least 15.0 percent, while 12 areas registered rates of less than 5.0 percent. The national unemployment rate in October was 9.0 percent, not seasonally adjusted, compared with 9.5 percent a year earlier. One hundred eighty-two metropolitan areas reported over-the-year increases in nonfarm payroll employment, 178 reported decreases, and 12 had no change - From the Bureau of Labor Statistics News Release