Hampton Roads’ seasonally adjusted employment increased for the second month in a row, increasing by 2,000 jobs, or 0.27%. While this single month of growth is respectable, over the past five months employment has been flat, with both November 2013 and March 2014 employment estimated to be 752,400. Employment growth at both the state and regional level began to slow considerably after October 2013, linked to shrinking federal budgets related to the Budget Control Act of 2011.
Labor Force Grows Strongly, Leading to Small Increase in Unemployment
The regional labor force has grown strongly over the past two months, increasing by just fewer than 10,000 (seasonally adjusted). Furthermore, 9,200 additional persons reported being employed in February 2013 and March of 2013, and taken together this indicates an improving situation in Hampton Roads. The unemployment rate increased slightly between February and March, reaching 5.54%. This generally occurs as a regional labor market begins to improve. The state and the nation have also experienced labor force growth recently.