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Initial claims fall, continuing claims keep growing in area employment snapshot

Despite a national jobs report that showed 2.5 million jobs gained in May, the Central Virginia area seems to be left out of the quick recovery so far as continued unemployment claims rose slightly in Prince Edward, Buckingham and Cumberland counties for the week ending May 30.

The gains in unemployment claims in Prince Edward, Buckingham, Cumberland, Lunenburg and Charlotte counties were all small but in a week when 93 of Virginia’s 132 reporting areas, or 70% of the state, saw decreases in the continuing claims number, the gains stand out as a sign the area may not be recovering from job losses as quickly as the rest of the state.

Prince Edward claims remained stable inching up one claim from the previous week to 969 people out of work. Buckingham County’s continued claims rose to 461 from 454 the previous week. Cumberland claims increased by seven to 215. Lunenburg County claims were up by eight to 261 and Charlotte County claims rose by 10 last week to 348.

Initial claims showed a 20% drop statewide, the area did see that trend here as initial claims in each of the five counties fell by 15% or more. Prince Edward’s initial claims fell by 17% to just 64 initial claims from 77 to week before. Initial unemployment claims in Prince Edward County have now fallen for three consecutive weeks.

Initial claims in Buckingham County dropped by 27% from 38 to 30 claims. Initial claims have fallen for five consecutive weeks in Buckingham County.

Cumberland County’s initial claims fell by 67% from 27 to 16. The announcement this week of Braverton Environmental coming to the county by the Office of Governor should boost the job prospects for Cumberland residents in the coming months. The industry that converts plastic to diesel fuel is expected to bring as many as 80 jobs to the area in the next 18 months.

Lunenburg’s initial unemployment dropped by more than half going from 39 claims to just 17. Charlotte County initials claims fell by 22% from 41 to 32.

The area moving into Phase 2 of the Forward Virginia plan this weekend with fewer economic restrictions on many businesses, should further help reduce the area’s number of new job claims.

The national unemployment rate was expected to be as high as 20% for May but a surprising jobs report that added 2.5 million jobs to the economy saw the unemployment rate actually fall to 13.3% for the month.