After two consecutive months of decline, seasonally adjusted employment increased by 3,400 jobs in April-2015. Hampton Roads employment has reached levels not seen since October-2008, but remains 22,300 jobs (-2.9%) below the pre-recession peak. Virginia employment has grown 0.4% above its pre-recession peak, and U.S. employment is now 2.2% over its prerecession peak.
Federal employment continues to decline regionally
As a tightening budget continues to impact all federal employment, regionally federal government employment declined by 1,500 jobs between April-2014 and April-2015. Interestingly, the decline in federal employment is lower regionally (-1.18%) than nationally (-1.93%). Local government employment also declined year-over-year, falling by 1,000 jobs (-2.79%); conversely, local government employment nationally grew over the past year (+0.44%).
Employment in both Administrative & Support industries (+1,700 jobs) and Healthcare & Social Assistance (+1,900 jobs) have both grown over the past year.
Unemployment Rate Increased
Hampton Roads seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased to 5.5% in April-2015, which was the first time since the spring of 1996 that the regional unemployment rate exceeded that of the nation (U.S. unemployment rate was 5.4% in April). The labor force has declined over the past year, although that trend reversed itself in April.