Jobless claims

Greene County’s unemployment rate rose 6.9 percentage points from March to April amid the COVID-19 global pandemic and stay-at-home orders. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the April unemployment rate for Greene County was 9.6%. March’s unemployment for Greene was 2.7%, which a 256% increase month over month.

“We are concerned for the folks who have experienced job loss, while we are also thankful that the numbers of jobs lost appears to be somewhat fewer in Greene County than in many other communities,” said Mark Taylor, Greene County administrator.

The Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) announced last week that the total number of Virginia initial claims filed from mid-March through the May 30 filing week totaled nearly 800,000, which is greater than half of the total Northern Virginia metro area non-farm employment, according to a release.

“The latest claims figure was a decrease of 7,863 claimants from the previous week,” the release said.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics said June 5 that non-farm payroll employment rose by 2.5 million in May and the unemployment rate declined to 13.3%, which is 1.4 percentage points lower than 14.7% in April—the highest it’s been since the Great Depression when it reached 23%.

“These improvements in the labor market reflected a limited resumption of economic activity that had been curtailed in March and April due to the coronavirus pandemic and efforts to contain it,” the release stated.

Virginia’s unemployment rate is 10.8% for April, up from 3.3% in March. Locally, Albemarle County’s April unemployment reached 9.1% from 2.5% in March. Orange County’s unemployment rate reached 9.8%, up from 3.3% in March. Madison County had the lowest unemployment rate locally for April at 7.1%, up from 2.5%.

“The current situation has hit the nation fairly hard,” said Alan Yost, director of Greene County Economic Development and Tourism. “Virginia and Greene are significantly lower than the national average. Unfortunately, this translates to just over 1,000 individuals applying for unemployment from Greene County during the COVID situation, and we feel for these individuals. As individuals seek new employment, we hope they consider adding to their quality of life by working here in Greene County. There are many good-paying jobs without the expense and time of traveling outside the county.”

Gov. Ralph Northam announced in mid-May that April revenue collections fell 26.2% year over year.

“As anticipated, this is the first monthly revenue report to reflect the significant negative impacts of COVID-19 on the health of our commonwealth’s finances,” Northam said. “We are facing an unprecedented health and economic crisis, and we must combat this virus before we can begin to repair our economy. My top priorities continue to be protecting the health and safety of Virginians.”

On May 21, Northam signed House Bill 30, the biennial budget.

“As originally passed, the budget bill made historic investments in environmental protection, workforce training, early childhood education and other priorities,” a release stated.

In April, Northam and the General Assembly agreed to pause new spending. The budget creates a coronavirus relief fund to assist with housing insecurity and small business loans.

The region entered Phase II of reopening last Friday after the shutdowns, allowing additional businesses to open, larger crowds to gather and masks remained required indoors.

Editor, Greene County Record

Terry Beigie is the Editor of the Greene County Record in Stanardsville. She can be reached at tbeigie@greene-news.com or (434) 985-2315.

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