Past year brought good news for Virginia, nation

The Bureau of Labor Statistics release of 2011 annual averages of regional and state unemployment shows continued good economic news for both the nation and Virginia.

  • Nationwide, unemployment rates dropped by 0.7% between 2010 and 2011.  Virginia saw a similar decline.
  • Virginia’s 2011 unemployment rate (6.2%) was much lower than the national average (8.9%).
  • Nearly two-thirds (64.7%) of Virginia’s population is working, compared to a national employment-population rate of 58.4%.  In fact, Virginia was the only state to significantly increase its employment-population ratio between 2010 and 2011.

Compared to its neighbors in the South Atlantic region, such as Maryland and North Carolina, Virginia had the lowest unemployment rate and highest employment/population ratio in 2011.  High employment may be one driver of Virginia’s low overall poverty rate.