Unemployment rate declines in Hampton Roads

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. – Old Dominion University’s Center for Economic Analysis and Policy has provided an update on the labor market in Hampton Roads.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released data that showed that the overall size of the civilian labor force in Hampton Roads increased by 7,615, or 0.91%, in May 2017 when compared to May 2016.

This knocks the region’s unemployment rate down to 4.2% in May 2017, which is 0.1% less than what it was around the same time last year. Within a year, the number of unemployed workers decreased from 35,886 to 35,721. These statistics represent a seven-month decline in the unemployment rate in Hampton Roads.

Despite the decline in the unemployment rate, the total number of jobs in Hampton Roads for May 2017 is less than what it was for May 2016: 772,600 last year compared to 773,700 this year.

This represents a decrease of 1,100 jobs from May 2016 to May 2017.

One possible explanation for the stagnation in job creation is that part-time jobs are being eliminated in favor of full-time jobs.

Experts at ODU believe that the large federal presence in Hampton Roads will likely increase prospects for growth in 2018, but say that Congress must modify the Budget Control Act of 2011 and increase the federal debt ceiling for such increases to materialize.

For 2017, ODU experts continue to forecast real GDP growth of 1.41% for the Hampton Roads region and a moderate increase in total employment of 0.5%.