County unemployment rate doubles

Published 12:06 pm Wednesday, May 13, 2020

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Weekly unemployment claims show the jobless rate has likely doubled in Lunenburg County to approximately 7.7%, but remains far below the national rate of 14.7%.

Before the pandemic struck the area, closing many restaurants and businesses termed non-essential, Lunenburg County had an unemployment rate of 3% for February. The number ticked up to 3.4% in March as the effects of the economic impact of the coronavirus lockdown began to be felt near the end of the month.

Since then, Luneburg’s number of unemployment claims have more than doubled. The county had 182 people listed as unemployed for March. Since the week of March 28, the county has had 276 initial unemployment claims.

The biggest week of initial claims came the weeks of April 4 and April 11 as 64 and 63 claims were filed respectively. The numbers dropped off to 25 initial claims the week of May 2. The weekly totals show 47 claims were filed the week of March 28, 64 the week of April 4 and 63 the week of April 11. Then the numbers begin to improve. The week of April 18, 48 unemployment claims were filed, followed by 29 the week of April 25 and 25 the week of May 2.

Adding the initial claims for April to the number of unemployed people in March would put April’s unemployment rate for the county at around 8%. That’s more than double the March rate. April’s official county rate is not available yet from the Virginia Employment Commission.

If the rate does come in close to 8%, that is still far below the 14.7% that was announced as the national average for April. Economic experts are saying the job losses nationwide are far from over as the national unemployment is expected to surpass the 20% level in the coming months.