According to the latest figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. has now experienced 57 consecutive months of civilian job growth. During that same time period, Hampton Roads experienced monthly job losses on 26 occasions, and was only able to string together nine consecutive months of job growth. The most recent jobs report for May of 2015 indicated that the region’s civilian employment declined by 400 jobs from April to May of this year.
Monthly Change In Civilian Employment (Seasonally Adjusted)
Hampton Roads continues to struggle in its efforts to recover from the ‘Great Recession.’ Where both the national economy and the Commonwealth’s economy have long since surpassed pre-recession peak employment, the region remains 23,300 (3%) below its peak employment.
Although the number of payroll jobs declined by 400 over the past month, Hampton Roads has experienced an increase of 4,100 jobs over the past year. The experience across industry sectors has varied significantly, with growth in the Construction, Administrative & Support, and Education Services sectors, and declines in Retail, Manufacturing, Healthcare, and Local Government sectors.
For the first time in 18 years, the national unemployment rate is lower than that of the region. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Hampton Roads bumped up to 5.513% in May, slightly higher than the national rate of 5.508%. While monthly unemployment figures are not especially indicative of economic well-being, the trends in unemployment rates do help to assess the relative strength of the labor market. Hampton Roads’ unemployment rate has historically averaged 1.2 percentage points below the national rate, but the gap between the national rate and the regional rate has been steadily declining since 2010, when the nation entered into a sustained recovery. Hampton Roads has now experienced four consecutive months of increasing unemployment rates.