Area jobless rate down from 2011
Posted: January 31, 2013
The Winchester Star
WINCHESTER — Local jobless rates in December were much improved from the year before, but inched upward from November.
Winchester’s unemployment rate was the highest locally at 6.1 percent — down significantly from December 2011 when it stood at 8.1 percent, but up slightly from 5.8 percent in November.
Frederick County’s unemployment rate stood at 4.9 percent in December — up from 4.7 percent in November, but down from 5.6 percent in December 2011.
Patrick Barker, executive director of the Winchester-Frederick County Economic Development Commission, was heartened by the year-over-year numbers.
He said the drop since December 2011 is partly due to Winchester having one of the stronger new job growth rates among Virginia metropolitan areas.
He added that the hires have been driven by a wide range of employers, such as Kraft, Trex, Navy Federal Credit Union and the health care and retail sectors.
Barker said the small increases in joblessness from November to December are likely due to the end of seasonal employment.
Clarke County’s jobless rate was 4.6 percent in December — the same as it was in November and a slight uptick from December 2011, when it was 4.4 percent.
Clarke’s rate has remained relatively stable for the past 22 months, ranging from 4.3 percent to 5.3 percent.
Virginia’s unemployment rate was 5.4 percent in December. Martinsville had the highest rate of any locality in the commonwealth at 15.2 percent.
— Contact Conor Gallagher at email@example.com