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February job market improves

The jobless rate brightened a bit in Halifax County in February as the unemployment rate fell to 9.6 percent, four-tenths of a percent lower than the 10 percent jobless rate in January, according to the latest Virginia Employment Commission data released Tuesday.

A total of 14,629 county residents were employed out of a total labor force of 16,191. The VEC said 1,562 county residents were looking for jobs during the month.

Halifax County’s jobless rate in February 2011 was 10.4 percent, according to VEC archive data.

Virginia’s unadjusted jobless rate was 6.1 percent in February, up one-tenth of a percentage point from January’s 6.0 percent rate.

A total of 264,873 Virginians was looking for jobs out of the total state workforce of 4,322,195, according to VEC data. 

Virginia’s rate is 2.6 percentage points lower than the national jobless rate of 8.7 percent.

Nationwide, 13,430,000 Americans were unemployed in February out of a total work force of 154,114,000, according to figures released.

VEC data showed unemployment rates in neighboring Virginia counties varied with some being higher and others lower in February.

Mecklenburg County’s jobless rate increased to 10.3 percent, an increase of four-tenths of a percentage point from January’s 9.9 percent.

Charlotte County’s rate decreased to 8.9 percent, down three-tenths of a percentage point from January’s 9.2 percent rate.

Campbell County’s rate increased to 6.3 percent, one-tenth of a percentage point from January’s 6.2 percent.

The City of Danville’s jobless rate decreased three-tenths of a percent in February to 10.6 percent, down from January’s 10.9 percent, VEC officials said. 

Pittsylvania County’s rate for February decreased to 7.6 percent, down two-tenths of a percentage point from January’s 7.8 percent.

Martinsville’s jobless rate also decreased to 16.7 percent, 1.4 percentage points down from a high of 18.1 percent in January.

The VEC reported Henry County’s rate decreased to 10.7 percent, two-tenths of a percentage point from January’s 10.9 percent.

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

A total of 14 Virginia jurisdictions had double-digit unemployment in February, VEC officials said.

Counties with the highest unemployment rate included Martinsville, 16.7 percent; Williamsburg, 15.1 percent; Page, 12.3 percent; Emporia, and Northumberland Counties at 11.9 percent; Petersburg city, 11.7 percent; Lancaster, 11.3 percent; Grayson County, 11.2 percent; Franklin city, 11.1 percent; Lexington City, 10.8 percent, Brunswick and Henry, both at 10.7 percent; Danville city, 10.6 percent; and Mecklenburg at 10.3 percent.