Suffolk unemployment drops

Published 7:38 pm Saturday, May 6, 2017

The statewide unemployment rate was 3.8 in March, the state’s lowest rate since May 2008, the office of Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced last month.

But the city of Suffolk doesn’t lag far behind. The city’s unemployment rate was 4.4 percent in February, the latest month for which local statistics are available. That rate is not seasonally adjusted, while the statewide rate is.

“I am pleased to see Suffolk’s unemployment rate drop,” said Kevin Hughes, director of economic development. “Suffolk’s workforce is one of our most valuable assets, and we hope to continue to assist companies as they invest, grow and hire in Suffolk.”

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Suffolk’s unemployment rate has been dropping during the last year. In February 2016, Suffolk’s unemployment rate was 5 percent.

Suffolk’s unemployment rate approached 8 percent several times in 2010 through 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The city’s unemployment rate is roughly in the middle of the pack in the region. It is higher than Virginia Beach, Chesapeake and Isle of Wight but lower than Newport News, Norfolk, Hampton, Portsmouth and Franklin.

The statewide unemployment rate was the second lowest of any major state in America, the governor’s office said.

“I’m pleased to see our tireless efforts to diversify and build a new Virginia economy come to fruition,” McAuliffe stated in a press release. “We are certainly starting 2017 off in a great position, and today’s announcement of the third consecutive drop in unemployment is a very positive indicator that our economy is strengthening. With the threat of sequestration cuts later this year, we must continue to do everything we can to make targeted investments in key sectors of the economy. I look forward to this positive trend in unemployment decline continuing through the remainder of this year and beyond.”

“We continue to see increases in employment and labor force expansion, as well as decreases in the unemployment rate throughout Virginia,” Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd Haymore stated in a press release. “In partnership with the General Assembly and the private sector, we are making great strides and will continue these efforts to further enhance Virginia’s business climate, support existing businesses as they expand, recruit new companies to the Commonwealth and spur job creation opportunities.”