By James Clary
The Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment News Release indicated 176 MSAs experienced declining employment in November 2010, and for the first time in five months Hampton Roads was among them. Seasonally adjusted Hampton Roads payrolls declined by 1 jobs to 739, a decline of 0.38% at a time when U.S. payrolls were flat (+0.03%). This leaves Hampton Roads still 41 jobs below peak employment, which was last reached in July 2007.
The unemployment rate also increased to 7.2% on a raw basis, and to 7.69% when adjusted for seasonality. This figure remains significantly below the national unemployment rate of 9.82%. The local unemployment rate was driven by an actual decline in the number of people employed, rather than an increase in the size of the labor force that had impacted previous unemployment rates. This is the highest unemployment rate in Hampton Roads since the Local Area Unemployment Statistics were first reported in January 1990; the previous high was 7.60% in March of 2010.