RICHMOND, Va. (CBSDC/AP) — Virginia’s unemployment rate ticked up slightly in June after remaining at the lowest rate in three years, but is still better than the national average.

The Virginia Employment Commission said Friday that Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose 0.1 percentage points to 5.7 percent in June after remaining at 5.6 percent in March, April and May. The rate is still 0.6 percentage points lower than a year ago and follows a similar pattern to last year when the jobless rate increased during the summer months.

Virginia’s jobless rate has been trending down since January 2010, when joblessness peaked at 7.3 percent.

“There’s not a cause for concern. This is only one month and it’s such a small change,” said Ann Lang, a senior economist with the state agency. “I think we’re just kind of in this kind of modest growth period. I don’t think there are any tremendous surprises there.”

Lang said the rate inched up in June as the number of unemployed rose and the labor force — the number of people working or actively looking for a job — was unchanged.

The state agency said 55,197 Virginians were receiving regular unemployment benefits in June. That’s up from 51,373 in May and up slightly from 55,022 in June 2011.

The state jobless rate is still below the national average, which was unchanged at 8.2 percent in June.

The Labor Department said unemployment rates rose in 27 U.S. states last month, the most in almost a year and a reflection of weaker hiring nationwide.

Rates fell in 11 states and Washington, D.C. — the fewest since August. Rates were unchanged in 12 states.

Nationwide, employers added only 80,000 jobs last month, the third straight month of weak job growth.

Still, 29 states added jobs in June, up from 27 in May. Unemployment rates can rise even if more jobs are created if more of those out of work start looking for jobs. The number of Americans searching for jobs nationwide increased last month.

In Virginia, non-farm payroll employment increased by 21,700 jobs in June. It was the fifth consecutive monthly increase.

Increases were seen in leisure and hospitality, trade and transportation, professional and business services, miscellaneous services, finance, manufacturing, the information sector and mining. Losses were seen in total government, and private education and health services. The construction industry remained unchanged.

Federal legislation passed in February 2012 under the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act changed the requirements for states to pay the different Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) Tiers.  According to the Virginia Employment Commission website, effective June 1, 2012 to be eligible for EUC Tier II, the state must have a Total Unemployment Rate (TUR) of 6 percent or higher for a three month period. With the ending of Tier II, this means that Virginia’s combined entitlement will be reduced from a maximum of 60 weeks to a maximum of 46 weeks.

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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