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Area jobless outlook takes negative turn

Fewer people were able to find jobs in Halifax County during May as the jobs outlook grew bleaker. The unemployment rate increased from 8.5 percent in April to 9.2 percent in May, seven-tenths of a percent higher than in April, according to the latest Virginia Employment Commission data released Tuesday.

Some 14,368 county residents were employed out of a total labor force of 15,831. The VEC said 1,463 county residents continued to look for jobs during May.

Halifax County’s jobless rate in May a year ago stood at 8.8 percent, according to VEC archive data.

A total of 237,691 Virginians was looking for jobs in May out of a total state workforce of 4,250,483, according to VEC data.

Virginia’s rate is 5.6 percent, 1.7 percentage points lower than the national jobless rate of 7.3 percent.

Nationwide 11,302,000 Americans were unemployed in May out of a total work force of 155,734,000, according to figures released Tuesday.

VEC data showed unemployment rates in neighboring Virginia counties fluctuated in May with some showing a decrease and others reflecting increases.

Mecklenburg County’s jobless rate increased to 10 percent, up eight-tenths of a percent from April’s 9.2 percent.

Charlotte County’s rate increased 1.1 percent to 7.8 percent point, up from April’s unemployment rate of 6.7 percent.

Campbell County’s rate increased eight-tenths of a percent to 5.9 percent in May, up from the 5.1 percent rate in April.

The City of Danville’s jobless rate increased five-tenths of a percent to 10.3 percent, up from April’s rate of 9.8 percent, VEC officials said.

Pittsylvania County’s rate for May increased to 6.6 percent, up six-tenths of a percentage points from the 6 percent reported in April.

Martinsville’s jobless rate decreased to 14.8 percent in May, down two-tenths of a  percent from April’s 15 percent.

The VEC reported Henry County’s rate increased to 9.1 percent, up four-tenths of a percent from the 8.7 percent reported in April.

Martinsville continues its hold on the highest rate of unemployment in the commonwealth.

A total of eight Virginia jurisdictions had double-digit unemployment in May, VEC officials said.

Counties and cities with the highest unemployment rate in May included Mecklenburg at 10 percent; Danville at 10.3 percent; Emporia at 10.7 percent; 10.9 percent in Dickenson County; Petersburg at 11 percent; Lexington at 11.3 percent; Williamsburg at 11.8 percent; and Martinsville at 14.8 percent.