By Brandon Martin
The number of initial unemployment claims slightly increased in Virginia during the week ending April 3, as figures by the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) show, but they were still 81 percent lower than in the comparable week in 2020 when unemployment neared its peak.
The amount of seasonally unadjusted initial claims in Virginia was 28,526. The figure was an increase of 282 claimants from the previous week. The total amount filed in Virginia since March 27, 2020 is 1,582,695 claims.
Henry County had 88 new claimants as of April 3 compared to 101 during the week ending March 27, 2021. The number also decreased in Martinsville where the number of new claimants dropped from 168 to 153 this week. Patrick County had 21 more initial claimants than the previous week with 56 new claims in total.
For the most recent filing week, continued weeks claimed totaled 57,344, which was a 0.5 percent increase from the previous week, but 75,840 lower than the 133,184 continued claims from the comparable week last year. Over half of claims that had a self-reported industry were in the accommodation/food service, administrative and waste services, retail trade, and healthcare/social assistance industries.
The number of continued claims in Henry County decreased by 13 from the week prior, ending the week of April 3 with 351 claims. Conversely, the continued claims in Martinsville increased to 198 claims compared to 190 in the week ending March 27, 2021. Continued claims in Patrick County also increased with 98 claimants continuing to file, a bump of 15 claimants in the week.
Nationwide, in the week ending April 3, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 744,000, an increase of 16,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up by 9,000 from 719,000 to 728,000. The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 740,787 in the week ending April 3, an increase of 18,172 (or 2.5 percent) from the previous week. There were 6,161,308 initial claims in the comparable week in 2020. Looking at preliminary data, most states reported decreases on a seasonally unadjusted basis. Alabama’s preliminary weekly change (-13,994) was the largest decrease. Ohio’s preliminary weekly change (-10,502) was the second largest decrease. Texas’s preliminary weekly change (-8,034) was the third largest decrease. Georgia’s preliminary weekly change (-7,557) was the fourth largest decrease. Virginia’s preliminary weekly change (+3,136) was the third largest increase among states.
The VEC also released the official unemployment figures for the month of February.
Henry County had an unemployment rate of 6.2 percent during the month. During January, the rate was 6.7 percent. Compared to the rate of February 2020, the rate for February 2021 was double. Henry County has fewer in its civilian workforce than in the previous year. The county dropped from 23,804 to 23,670 workers.
The rate in Martinsville came in at 9.8 percent for the month. This was only a 0.2 percent decrease from January. The number is also more than double the rate of February 2020, when it was only 4.2 percent. Martinsville increased its civilian workforce to 5,586 from 5,520 over the course of the year.
Patrick County’s unemployment rate remained steady at 6.2 percent in both January and February. The county had an unemployment rate of 3.3 percent in February 2020. The civilian labor force has fallen to 6,938 in February 2021. This is 385 fewer than February 2020.