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Posted May 2, 2009 | Copyright © The Northern Virginia Daily
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Local jobless rate slows in March

WINCHESTER — After topping out at a revised 9.1 percent in February, the local jobless rate fell four-tenths of a point in March, according to a Virginia Employment Commission report.

Still the region’s 8.7 percent figure was more than double that of the same month last year and the third-highest among Virginia metro areas behind the New River Valley (9.4 percent) and Danville (12.2) percent.

The Winchester metro area, which for employment purposes includes the city, Frederick County and Hampshire County, W.Va., saw about 300 fewer jobless claims from February to March.

Most of the gains were in the private services industries, and losses in the goods-producing sector leveled off, according to VEC data.

Spring is typically one of the strongest seasons for employment in the Shenandoah Valley, though VEC Chief Economist William F. Mezger noted in his report that the general slump in construction and cool, wet weather prevented much of an increase in outside work in March, and Easter, with its associated travel and retail activity, did not occur until April 12.

Across the region, all six jurisdictions saw a decline in unemployment in March. Winchester had the highest rate at 9.6 percent, followed by Shenandoah County (8.6 percent), Warren County (8.5 percent), Frederick County (8.4 percent), Clarke County (6.4 percent) and Rappahannock County (6.2 percent).

— Daily Staff Report

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