By James Clary,
The Bureau of Labor Statistics Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment release indicated that Hampton Roads experienced another month of mixed labor market indicators. Payroll employment declined for the second straight month with a regional loss of 1꽤 jobs. The current population survey offered a far stronger outlook, as the unemployment rate fell to 7.35% on a seasonally adjusted basis (the unadjusted rate is 6.99%).
The month to month employment data tell conflicting messages;2010 saw significant improvement to the regional labor market. Payrolls increased by 7겨 jobs during the year, with most of the growth occurring in Professional & Business Services, Leisure & Hospitality, and Healthcare & Social Assistance. While the unemployment rate only returned to the December 2009 levels at the end of 2010, this obscures the fact that the labor force increased by 18갊 during the year, and an additional 16꽽 people reported they had jobs at the end of the year. This is remarkable because this 2.2% increase in both areas is greater than the population growth in the region, and represents significant progress in the labor market.