RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Virginia's unemployment rate will end the year around 6.4%. Three percent under the national average. So what will the New Year bring for the thousands of jobless in our area?
Nearly 300,000 Virginians are still looking for work. And with unemployment extension benefits about to run-out, many are hoping the New Year brings a new jobs.
"It's been kind of like, how often do I have to keep treading water to make it?" said Ralph Kirkland.
Kirkland was laid off last March. He comes to Henrico County's Employment Transition Center at least once a week.
"It's been rough; I'll be honest with ya. It's been rough," he said.
Some positive changes could be coming in 2010. David Brat is an economics professor at Randolph Macon College. He says the business indexes are starting to point up.
"Which shows that business firms the CEO's the executives are saying, hey, are firm is doing better than we thought maybe a couple months ago? And there's some hiring in the works," Brat said.
But the road to recovery will be slow and long. Brat says this downturn was caused by a financial crisis meaning.
"Those recessions are the worst, and longest, and the hardest on unemployment," said Brat.
He says employers are waiting to see what the environment's going to be like in the next year, so new jobs are coming, but will take time.
"People should be very, very leery. Sock every dollar you have away. Be on the cautious conservative side," he said.
The final unemployment numbers for the year in the nation and in Virginia will be released in mid January.