HARRISONBURG — The local unemployment rate kept fairly stable at 3% in July, with 1,973 people jobless in the Harrisonburg metro area, according to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The unemployment rate in June was 3.1%, with 2,056 workers searching for employment.
Throughout 2019, the unemployment rate in the Harrisonburg metro area has alternated between 3.1% and 3%. Only data from the month of April has broken the mold, dropping to a 12-year low of 2.4% — resulting in only 1,580 locals unsuccessfully searching for work that month.
The Harrisonburg metro area includes Rockingham County and Harrisonburg city, however, the jobless rate for Rockingham County is notably lower than the city’s.
The county’s unemployment rate was 2.5% in July, while the city’s unemployment rate was 3.7% in July. Rockingham County had an unemployment rate of 2.7% in June.
In July 2009, the jobless rate in the city was 7.5% — more than double this year’s rate.
The labor force continued to increase, adding about 200 potential workers between June and July to total 66,733 in the Harrisonburg metro area.
However, new jobs outpaced new workers, with roughly 300 jobs added in the metro area between June and July.
Experts have said that the inability for employers to find workers results in increased wages and benefits, but also that the labor shortage presents difficulties to a business’ ability to grow and operate, according to previous Daily News-Record reports.
The statewide unemployment rate of 2.9%, which is adjusted to account for seasonal changes, narrowly beats the Harrisonburg metro area’s jobless rate. Local rates are not adjusted.
Unemployment in Shenandoah County was 2.5% in July 2019 — one year prior the rate was 2.8%.
The jobless rate in Augusta slightly outshines Shenandoah, and is equal with Rockingham’s, at 2.5%. In July 2018, the jobless rate in Augusta County was 2.7%.
Page County also saw a decrease in its unemployment rate over the past 12 months — from 3.5% in July 2018 to 3.2% in July 2019.
The July 2019 employment gains in Page were modest, as June’s unemployment stood at 3.3%.
Rockingham, Shenandoah, Page and Augusta all had a 12-month drop in net unemployment of 0.3%.