Hampton Roads experienced its seventh consecutive and strongest month of job growth in November 2014. The estimated addition of 4,400 jobs (seasonally adjusted), increased regional employment to 761,800. If sustained, this level of employment would surpass the employment growth last seen in 1997, Hampton Roads’ best year for employment growth.
Unfortunately, caution should be used when interpreting these results, as the initial estimates are subject to annual revision. Developing any estimate from surveys present many technical difficulties and employment is no exception. Every MSA in Virginia, except Danville, added employment in November 2014 according to MSA estimates, but the total employment gain for metropolitan areas was 6,600 positions greater than the estimated employment gain experienced by the Commonwealth. Over the past four months MSAs have added 29,200 jobs more than the Commonwealth, suggesting that these numbers will experience significant revision. The tendency has been for regional employment estimates to be revised to match the state levels. The accuracy of the current estimates will be determined in March 2015 when employment estimates are annually benchmarked to the unemployment insurance filings by businesses.
The Hampton Roads seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 5.42% in November2014, from 6.62% in October 2014. While this marks the third straight month of falling unemployment, a significant portion of that improvement has been driven by a declining labor force. Statewide, Virginia has also seen a decline in the unemployment rate driven by a fallen labor force over the past three months.