Unemployment rate in Charlottesville drops from April to May

Unemployment rate in Charlottesville drops from April to May

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - New unemployment numbers from the Virginia Employment Commission show the start of an economic recovery in the Charlottesville area.

The most recent report shows a drop in unemployment in the Charlottesville Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) - from 9.5% unemployment in April, to 8.3% in May.

These numbers are possibly an indication that Phase 1 of reopening helped bring some jobs back to the commonwealth.

However, this report doesn’t show the impacts of Phase 2, which didn’t happen until June. That’s part of why VEC Senior Economist Conrad Buckler says he expects the next report will show an even sharper decrease in unemployment.

“We will be able to capture a lot of those people that returned to work and because they’re returning from furlough,” Buckler said. “Businesses providing telework assistance for employees, certain businesses that weren’t allowed to open in Phase 1 were allowed to open in Phase 2 will all contribute to a lowering of the unemployment rate, I believe, in June.”

Buckley also said because of Virginia’s low unemployment rate before the pandemic, he hopes the commonwealth’s economy could bounce back quickly if the coronavirus is under control.

When asked about the potential impact Phase 3 could have on the Charlottesville-area economy, Buckler said it’s unclear.

“There’s going to be a little bit more of an increase in employment in Phase 3, but most of the businesses are already open now,” he said. “Now it’s just a matter of individuals being more comfortable to go to those businesses. And that will depend on how COVID rates in Virginia stay.”

Ryan McKay, a senior policy analyst at the Thomas Jefferson Health District, said he feels comfortable with the move to Phase 3 because the test positivity rate is under 10%. Other doctors in the area are concerned about the decision.

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