Unemployment rates released: Slight increase statewide

By Nicole Bell - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) - New numbers paint a clearer picture of the state's unemployment rate for the month of September. Overall, the commonwealth experienced a slight up-tick. That increase is being attributed, in part, to the start of school and students looking for after school work.

Some of the state's highest unemployment numbers are in the Tri-Cities area. For the month of September Petersburg's unemployment rate ranked second highest in the state at 13.8 percent; that's up, from 13.5 percent in August.

In Prince George County it's up from 6.7 percent in August to 7.3 percent in September. And although Hopewell's jobless numbers dipped slightly from 10.6 in August to 10.4 in September -- the city has one of the highest unemployment rates in the commonwealth.

It's all part of new figures released by the Virginia Employment Commission.

"The tri-cites area has higher unemployment. A lot of people in the tri-cities were working at Qimonda and Circuit City," said William Mezger, Virginia Employment Commission Chief Economist.

Two companies that shut down shop earlier this year. The report puts Richmond's unemployment rate for September at 10 percent. In August it was 10.1.

"Employment is down in most places in the Richmond metro area. We've lost a little over 20 thousand jobs in the last year," said Mezger.

Ted Jonas lives in Petersburg. He's been unemployed for three months.

"I've been putting in numerous applications. One place I applied they had one position and I was the 92nd or 93rd application they received," said Jonas.

Mezger says at least one important thing must happen in order for unemployment numbers to decrease.

"New jobs got to be created," he said.

Although the state's unemployment rate inched up to 6.6 percent in September, it's lower than the national unemployment rate for that same time period which is 9.5 percent.

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