As of April 2014, Hampton Roads unemployment rate fell to its lowest level in over five years to 5.1%. This is the lowest level, not accounting for seasonal positions.
Senior economist for the state agency, Ann Lang, said that due to the weather improving, unemployment rates usually drop in April as businesses prepare for summer season. Last year, the unemployment rate for the region fell from 6% in March to 5.7% in April.
Beginning in 2010, when the unemployment rate for The VA-NC Metropolitan Area was 7.5%, our region has seen a steady decline in unemployment — according to The Bureau of Labor, the rates were noted as 7.1% (2011), 6.5% (2012), 6.0 (2013), 5.1% (April 2014).
According to the state commission’s site, the last time the unemployment rate was lower was in November 2008 at 4.8 percent. As of March 2014, Hampton Roads’ jobless rate remains between the state’s (4.7%) and the U.S (5.9%).
Despite the regional rate of unemployment fall, the regional growth has been poor. One of the reasons is that the Department of Defense has located personnel elsewhere and private-sector job seekers have left the region — according to Old Dominion University’s, 2013 The State of the Region report.
The Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones, spoke at an event hosted by the E.V. Williams Center of Real Estate and Economic Development at Old Dominion University. During his discussion, he touched basis on the areas Virginia needs to focus on to help augment private sectors. The five-pillar plan is comprised of, workforce development, infrastructure, entrepreneurism, growth sectors and overall business climate. “There are initiatives either ongoing or planned in each”, said Jones. Implementing the plan will not only keep the unemployment rate low, but will possibly have a helping in the regional growth.