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Unemployment Rate Increases Slightly

Unemployment Rate Increases Slightly

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased slightly in Hampton Roads, from 6.11% in December 2012 to 6.18% in January 2013 (this was significantly less than the unadjusted employment rate which increased from 6.01% to 6.79%). Both the U.S. and Virginia saw their unemployment rate increase slightly in January, though the U.S. has since declined in February 2013.

US, VA, Hampton Roads MSAUnemployment Rate Seasonally Adjusted

Unfortunately, the details of this report contained several negative elements. While the unemployment rate only increased slightly, the local area unemployment statistics showed that the number employed shrank significantly in January 2013 (-5,824). Had the labor force remained at its December 2012 level, the unemployment in the region would have increased to 6.9%, the decline in the labor force kept the unemployment rate low. The Hampton Roads civilian labor force has never previously shrunk by this amount.[1] By contrast, both the state and the nation experienced increasing employment and labor forces during January 2013.

Indexed Labor Force, Jan08=100

Research indicates the labor market dynamics demonstrated by the unemployment rate and associated statistics respond to changes in the local economy more quickly than do other labor market statistics, but this also only one month of data. Continued contraction in the Hampton Roads labor force and employment would indicate that the regional economy had its recovery stalled once again.



[1] Since local area unemployment statistics began to be reported in 1990.

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