More Virginians entering labor force, unemployment rate sees uptick

(The Center Square) – More Virginians are entering into the workforce, but the unemployment rate saw a slight uptick last month.

There were more than 4.3 million workers in the commonwealth in October after an uptick of 1,162 workers. However, the number of employed residents went down by more than 2,500, which brought that number to slightly more than 4.2 million people. Additionally, the state’s unemployment rate increased by 0.1 percentage point, but is still well below the national unemployment rate of 3.7%.

Gov. Glenn Youngkin referred to the findings as mixed.

“We continue to see economic indicators at the state level and nationally delivering mixed messages, but we should be encouraged by the slight pickup in establishment jobs in October,” the governor said in a statement. “Policies from Washington creating inflationary pressure and keeping Virginians out of the labor force is ongoing, and we must remain vigilant in creating the environment for businesses to start, invest and grow in the Commonwealth and get more Virginians off the sidelines and into the workforce.”

Stephen Haner, a senior fellow for state and local tax policy at the free-market Thomas Jefferson Institute, told The Center Square the report could be a good sign.

“It is possible to add more jobs and still see the unemployment rate rise, and it probably means people who have been sitting out are now job hunting,” Haner said. “That could be a good sign. I think Virginia is now on a better track but we may not see it with all the headwinds from inflation and the Federal Reserve’s push on interest rates.”

There are 92,673 more employed Virginians than there were at the beginning of the year in January. According to estimates from the Virginia Employment Commission, there were 107,400 more jobs in Virginia establishments than there were at the start of the year. There were nearly 87,000 more private sector jobs and more than 20,000 more public sector jobs.

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