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).
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).
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).
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.