Virginia's unemployment rate improving

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia's unemployment rate fell for the second straight month in November as the state added 5,100 jobs.

The Virginia Employment Commission said Tuesday that the state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in November was 6.2 percent.

That's down from 6.4 percent in October and 6.6 percent a year ago.

The rate had been decreasing since peaking at 7.2 percent from December 2009 to February 2010, but had risen slightly from July through September this year.

Virginia's rate is still below the national average, which dropped to 8.6 percent in November, the lowest since March 2009.

The Labor Department said unemployment rates fell in 43 states, reflecting a modest pickup in the nation's job market. Only three states reported increases in their unemployment rates in November. Four states showed no change.

Nationally, employers added a net total of 120,000 jobs. Still, at least 125,000 jobs a month are needed to keep up with population growth, and at least double that amount to rapidly reduce the unemployment rate.

Virginia's unadjusted unemployment rate, which is not adjusted for seasonal employment, decreased to 5.7 percent in November, below the rate last month and a year ago.

The state's nonfarm payroll employment increased for the third consecutive month. Increases were seen in trade and transportation, total government, and finance and miscellaneous services. Private education and health services, as well as mining were unchanged.

The professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, manufacturing, construction, and the information sector experienced job losses.

The state agency said 51,569 Virginians were receiving regular unemployment benefits in November. That's down from 54,123 in October and down from 60,262 in November 2010.