HARRISONBURG — The unemployment rate in the Harrisonburg metro area rose back to 3% in May, rising slightly from April’s 2.4%, which was the lowest the area had seen in more than a decade.
Total non-farm employment dropped to 68,100 from April’s all-time high of 70,200. April is the month with the highest non-farm employment historically.
Trade, transportation and utilities jobs have continued to stay at 13,600 for the third month in a row, and the preliminary statistics for June also indicate no change to employment numbers in the sector.
May’s labor force also saw the smallest labor force present in the metro area in 2019, dropping from 66,858 to 65,999, according to preliminary numbers for May.
Employment also continues its up and down pattern, increasing and decreasing with each alternate month, as it dropped from 65,278 in April to 64,014 in May.
The number of unemployed people looking for work increased in May to around 1,985 from 1,580 in April in the metro area.
The counties of Augusta, Rockingham and Shenandoah all shared the same unemployment rate of 2.6% in May.
Augusta County saw an increase in unemployment, from 2.1% in April, the lowest of the localities in the month, to 2.6% in May. This mirrored April 2018’s unemployment rate of 2.6%.
All the localities shared an increase in unemployment, except for Page County, where the unemployment rate stayed at 3.5% from April to May. As with Augusta County, Page’s unemployment rate in April 2019 matched April 2018 — 3.5%.
The rate of jobless workers jumped in Shenandoah and Rockingham from 2.2% in April to 2.6% in May. This is still an improvement over April 2018’s jobless rate for the two counties, which both stood at 2.7%.
Statewide, unemployment has hovered around 3% for the past year and May has brought no major change with an employment rate of 2.9% across the Commonwealth, according to seasonally adjusted data. Local data are not adjusted to account for seasonal factors.
The labor force also continues its slow ascent in Virginia, gaining approximately 6,000 more workers from April to total 4.368 million in May.