HARRISONBURG — The last time the Harrisonburg metro area has seen the unemployment rate this low, 2.4% to be exact, was October 2007, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The April unemployment rate for the metro area was 2.4%, which marks the lowest point of 2019 by at least 0.6% compared to previous months until December’s unemployment rate, which was 2.5%. The data is not seasonally adjusted.
In 2018, the April unemployment rate was 2.7%.
This drop represents approximately 400 fewer unemployed area residents. Last year, the number of unemployed residents dropped by approximately 300 between March and April of 2018. This is reduction in unemployment between the two months is a trend that can be seen across many years, with varying results.
The employment number of the metro area increased to 65,213, an increase of approximately 1,000 since March. This mirrors the March to April employment rise in 2018 of approximately 500 employees as well, also a trend that can be seen to various degrees over the years.
The April employment number is near February’s level of 65,230 employees in the Harrisonburg metro area.
The metro area’s labor force has also increased to 66,793 from 66,267 in March.
Similarly positive results in a reduction in unemployment can be seen in the surrounding counties.
Rockingham and Shenandoah counties both reached a 2.2% unemployment rate in April. Both of these counties also had a decrease in the unemployment rate by about half a percentage point since March, with Rockingham previously having a 2.75% rate and Shenandoah having a 2.9% rate.
Both the counties also fared better in April 2019 than in April 2018 — Rockingham had a 2.4% unemployment rate and Shenandoah had a 2.6% unemployment rate last year.
Gaining employment was an easier task in April 2019 than March 2019 or April 2018 within Page County, with the unemployment rate dropping from 5.1% in March to 3.5% in April. April 2018 in Page County saw an unemployment rate of 3.7%.
Augusta County had the lowest unemployment rate in the area, standing at 2.1% in April.
Like the other localities mentioned, April 2019 was also kinder to Augusta County than March 2019 or April 2018, with an unemployment rate of 2.7% and 2.5%, respectively, for the months.
Statewide data also show that Virginia unemployment hit the lowest point of the year in April, reaching 2.5% across the commonwealth.
However, the May unemployment rate for Virginia increased to 2.9%.
May’s data for the Harrisonburg metro area was unavailable as of press time.