Unemployment rises again

Published 11:36 pm Friday, November 11, 2011

The unemployment rate in Suffolk was at its highest point in a year in September 2011, according to employment statistics reported by the Virginia Bureau of Labor Statistics.

About 3,162 people were unemployed in September, the statistics show. That means 7.6 percent of the civilian workforce was unemployed.

The number is at its highest since September 2010, when the unemployment rate was 7.9 percent.


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The numbers are not adjusted for seasonal fluctuations. There could be some relief on the way — unemployment rates for October, November and December are traditionally lower as retailers ramp up hiring for the holiday season.

The problem is not unique to Suffolk. The region and the state also fell behind in September.

“The report indicates that Hampton Roads job levels have reached a new low,” said James Clary, Hampton Roads Planning District Commission economist, in an analysis of the report.

The region has 53,400 fewer employees than the peak employment in July 2007. The state also has experienced a total employment decline of 6,000 positions.

The report indicates that retail and scientific industries suffered the most in the past year, losing more than 2,000 positions each. Other industries that have lost jobs include natural resources and construction, financial activities and local government.

Industries that grew, on the other hand, include education and health services, federal government, ship and boat building and leisure and hospitality, according to the report.

The four industries combined added nearly 9,000 jobs throughout the region.

On a positive note for the region, the labor force has been increasing during the past three months, “indicating that the labor force in the region remains optimistic about their job prospects,” Clary wrote in his analysis.

Statewide, the unemployment rate for September was 6.4 percent.

Suffolk’s unemployment rate in September rose a tenth of a percent from August.