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Incremental progress continues to be the direction of Fairfax County’s jobs picture, but there remains a long way to go to get back to pre-pandemic norms.
With 586,850 county residents employed in the civilian workforce and 28,050 looking for jobs, Fairfax County’s unemployment rate of 4.6 percent in March was down from 4.8 percent in February, according to figures reported April 28 by the Virginia Employment Commission.
But even with the improvement, Fairfax’s jobless rate remains more than twice what it was in March 2020, when the pandemic first roared in and upended daily live. The county’s unemployment rate then was 2.2 percent.
Fairfax is not alone – most Northern Virginia localities continue to see modest month-over-month improvement in the jobs pictures, but stand at roughly double the rate of joblessness as a year before.
In March, unemployment rates were 3.4 percent in Falls Church (down from 3.5 percent in February); 4 percent in Arlington (down from 4.1 percent); 4.1 percent in Loudoun County (down from 4.3 percent); 4.9 percent in Alexandria (down from 5.2 percent); and 5.2 percent in Prince William County (down from 5.5 percent).
A year before, however, no Northern Virginia jurisdiction had a jobless rate higher than 2.5 percent.
For Northern Virginia as a whole, March’s jobless rate of 4.6 percent represented 1.58 million in the civilian workforce and just over 74,000 looking for jobs.
That rate was down from 4.8 percent a month before, but was still double the rate of 2.3 percent recorded in March 2020.
Across Virginia, the jobless rate of 5.1 percent in March was down from 5.4 percent a month previously, but up from 2.8 percent a year before. Non-agricultural employment across the commonwealth was up slightly (800 jobs), with employment rising in the construction and manufacturing sectors but down in trade, finance and leisure/hospitality. Government employment largely was flat.
Among Virginia’s 133 counties and cities, the lowest jobless rates for March were recorded in Madison County (3.2 percent), Falls Church (3.4 percent) and Poquoson (3.7 percent), with the highest in Petersburg (12.9 percent), Emporia (10 percent) and Hopewell (9.5 percent).
Nationally, the jobless rate of 6.2 percent was down from 6.6 percent a month before.