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Jobless rate at 7.6 percent

Unemployment for December inched up slightly in Pulaski County to 7.6 percent, according to figures released this week by the Virginia Employment Commission.
The VEC reported 1,414 countians out of work during the month compared to 1,396 in November when the jobless rate hit 7.4 percent. A year ago in December 2007, unemployment stood at 4.3 percent with 769 unemployed.
Statewide, unemployment climbed from 4.6 percent in November to 5.2 percent in December.
“The recession caught up with Virginia in December,” stated Bill Mezger, chief economist with the VEC. Mezger said Virginia saw “a lot more” temporary furloughs at yearend than normal. “The holiday furloughs this year came earlier, lasted longer and affected more people,” Mezger stated.
Furloughs coupled with permanent closings around the state pushed the jobless rate up, as did the fact fewer temporary jobs were created than usual in the retail sector during the holidays. “Normally about 25,000 people are hired around the state during the holidays in the retail industry. This year, however, only between 12,000 and 15,000 people were hired,” explained Mezger.
He said the New River Valley followed the state pattern in December with unemployment rising from 5.6 percent in November to 6.3 percent in December. A year ago the December rate stood at 3.6 percent. The number of unemployed across the NRV has risen from 2,800 in December a year ago to 4,950 in December 2008.
Pulaski County actually saw the lowest rate of increase among NRV localities in December.
The biggest jump in unemployment came in Giles County — from 6 percent in November to 7.7 percent in December.
Montgomery County rose from 4.6 percent in November to 5.4 percent in December.
Floyd County saw the same level of increase from 5.4 to 6.2 percent.
Radford and Wythe County both rose the same amount — Radford from 5.9 percent to 6.3 and Wythe from 7.2 to 7.6 percent.
While Arlington continued to pace the state in lowest unemployment rate (3.2 percent), several localities saw double-digit unemployment for December. Martinsville led the state with 15.4 percent, but Danville was close behind at 13.9 percent. Williamsburg was next at 12.5 percent followed by Page County at 11.7, Henry County at 11.0, Galax at 10.9 and Patrick Co. at 10.2 percent.

Jobless rate at 7.6 percent

Unemployment for December inched up slightly in Pulaski County to 7.6 percent, according to figures released this week by the Virginia Employment Commission.
The VEC reported 1,414 countians out of work during the month compared to 1,396 in November when the jobless rate hit 7.4 percent. A year ago in December 2007, unemployment stood at 4.3 percent with 769 unemployed.
Statewide, unemployment climbed from 4.6 percent in November to 5.2 percent in December.
“The recession caught up with Virginia in December,” stated Bill Mezger, chief economist with the VEC. Mezger said Virginia saw “a lot more” temporary furloughs at yearend than normal. “The holiday furloughs this year came earlier, lasted longer and affected more people,” Mezger stated.
Furloughs coupled with permanent closings around the state pushed the jobless rate up, as did the fact fewer temporary jobs were created than usual in the retail sector during the holidays. “Normally about 25,000 people are hired around the state during the holidays in the retail industry. This year, however, only between 12,000 and 15,000 people were hired,” explained Mezger.
He said the New River Valley followed the state pattern in December with unemployment rising from 5.6 percent in November to 6.3 percent in December. A year ago the December rate stood at 3.6 percent. The number of unemployed across the NRV has risen from 2,800 in December a year ago to 4,950 in December 2008.
Pulaski County actually saw the lowest rate of increase among NRV localities in December.
The biggest jump in unemployment came in Giles County — from 6 percent in November to 7.7 percent in December.
Montgomery County rose from 4.6 percent in November to 5.4 percent in December.
Floyd County saw the same level of increase from 5.4 to 6.2 percent.
Radford and Wythe County both rose the same amount — Radford from 5.9 percent to 6.3 and Wythe from 7.2 to 7.6 percent.
While Arlington continued to pace the state in lowest unemployment rate (3.2 percent), several localities saw double-digit unemployment for December. Martinsville led the state with 15.4 percent, but Danville was close behind at 13.9 percent. Williamsburg was next at 12.5 percent followed by Page County at 11.7, Henry County at 11.0, Galax at 10.9 and Patrick Co. at 10.2 percent.