Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Virginia's Unemployment Rate Hits 17 Year High

As an example of how the financial crisis is impacting the Commonwealth of Virginia, the employment rate in Virginia reached a 17 year high at 6.4 percent. This number might seem relatively low when compared to sates like Rhode Island and Oregon, but it's important to remember that this statistic doesn't take into consideration the people who could only obtain part-time employment but are still in need of a full-time job. Also not included in this statistic are people who have taken a full-time job that, while better than being unemployed, doesn't pay a living wage. If you take the people who meet those qualifications into consideration, the unemployment rate would likely be in the double digits across the Commonwealth.

While the increased unemployment rate is disturbing news, what makes the news even gloomier is the fact that we have seen increases all across the Commonwealth and not just one particular region. According to an article on the "Virginia Business" website, for instance, every metro area in the state saw an unemployment increase.
All 10 metropolitan statistical areas saw a jump in the unemployment rate, with the Danville area hitting 14 percent, the highest metro rate in the state.

The city of Williamsburg had the highest jobless rate of all localities in the state — 19.5 percent, up from 12.4 percent a month earlier. Much of the spike in that historic city is because of slumps in lodging, tourism and retail activity after the holidays, said Christine Chmura of Chmura Economics & Analytics in Richmond.

The Richmond-area jobless rate hit 6.9 percent, up from 5.6 percent a month earlier. A year ago, the unemployment rate in Richmond was 3.8 percent.
These increases in unemployment are a grave reminder of why the job creating investments Obama has proposed in his budget are absolutely necessary. Furthermore, they are a testament to why this year's elections are absolutely critical for all Virginians. We need to elect leaders who will be able to create jobs and help lead our Commonwealth out of this financial crisis.

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