RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia saw stronger job growth in 2011 than first estimated, with eight of the state’s industrial sectors adding jobs last year, the Virginia Employment Commission said Monday.
The state’s non-farm employment grew by 42,300 jobs, or 1.2 percent, in 2011 after annual revisions, following two consecutive years of declines. It was originally estimated that the state gained 22,300 jobs, or 0.6 percent, for the year. In contrast, the U.S. experienced non-farm job growth of 1.1 percent in 2011.
The state agency does a once-a-year revision of its data to give a more accurate picture of Virginia’s job situation as more complete information comes in from Unemployment Insurance tax records.
Virginia’s annual unemployment rate averaged 6.2 percent in 2011, up from the 2010 average rate of 6.9 percent. The agency said Virginia had the eighth-lowest unemployment rate in the country, while North Dakota had the lowest with 3.5 percent. The national average rate for 2011 was 8.9 percent, down from 9.6 percent in 2010.
Virginia industrial sectors adding jobs last year were: professional and business services, private education and health services, trade and transportation, leisure and hospitality, government, finance, miscellaneous services and mining. Most of the job gains were in professional and business services, which added 12,200 jobs, or 1.9 percent.
Virginia’s job losses in 2011 were in construction, manufacturing and the information sector. The largest losses were in construction, which saw employment decline by 4,500 jobs, or 2.5 percent, last year.
All but one of Virginia’s 10 metropolitan areas added jobs in 2011. The Lynchburg area saw job declines of 300, or 0.3 percent, last year. Meanwhile, the largest percent gain of 4.1 percent was seen in the Blacksburg, Christiansburg and Radford metro area, which translated to 2,800 jobs.
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