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Employment Continues to Crawl Higher

Employment Continues to Crawl Higher

Hampton Roads’ seasonally adjusted civilian employment increased by 1,200 between Jul-14 and Aug-14, the fourth straight month of job gains. The 4,600 jobs the region gained since May-14 bring total regional civilian employment to 762,000.  Hampton Roads’ employment is still 27,200 jobs below its Jul-07 peak, and 300 jobs less than last year. If the region gains jobs at its long term average rate of 516 per month, the region will not achieve the pre-recession peak until Jan-19, more than four years away (the region has only gained an average of 467 jobs per month since Mar-11).

Hampton Roads Projected Return to Peak Employment


In contrast, The Nation has exceeded its prerecession peak employment by 0.5 percentage points, and The Commonwealth has recovered 99.9% of its employment (down 5,000 jobs).

Indexed Employment- Seasonally Adjusted Peak Employment=100

Hampton Roads’ industry employment shows the impact of the federal budget.

Federal government (-1,100) and scientific & technical services (-4,100) are both down significantly year-over-year (Aug-13 to Aug-14). Since employment in both of these industries are tied to the federal budget and defense contracting, the situation in Washington will have a significant impact on their future prospects. Regionally, retail trade (+3,100) has grown strongly year-over-year, but that pace has ebbed from the July year-over-year growth (+3,900), indicating that tourism’s impact on retail employment has grown more pronounced. Finance & insurance (1,100) employment has grown in the region, as well as employment in education services (1,300).

Hampton Roads Employment Change: Aug'13-Aug'14

Unemployment ticks up.

Hampton Roads’ seasonally adjusted employment increased to 5.8% in August, from 5.7% in July. The region’s labor force and persons employed have shrunk for the past 3 months, both of which indicate issues with the regional economy. The Commonwealth has also seen a spike in its unemployment rate recently, and both Hampton Roads’ and Virginia’s poor performance with regards to unemployment stem from the dependence on federal government expenditures.

U.S., Virginia, and Hampton Roads Unemployment Rate