Employers in Mecklenburg, Brunswick and Halifax counties added another 378 jobs in March, a sign the labor market remains strong in the three counties that make up the Southside Planning District.
Payrolls grew by 117 jobs in Mecklenburg County, 207 in Halifax County and 54 in Brunswick County in March, according to the latest numbers released by the Virginia Employment Commission on May 3.
This is the third consecutive month of job growth for all three counties.
The labor force participation rate also rose in the three counties during that same period as 285 active workers joined the civilian labor force — 98 in Mecklenburg, 159 in Halifax and 28 in Brunswick County.
The civilian labor force is the number of workers who are either employed or actively seeking employment.
The unemployment rate ticked down in all three counties as labor force participation rates and overall job numbers rose. Mecklenburg County’s unemployment rate slid from 3.7 percent in February to 3.5 percent in March. Joblessness in Halifax County fell from 4.1 percent in February to 3.7 percent in March, and in Brunswick County the unemployment rate dropped from 5.1 percent in February to 4.6 percent in March.
March also saw a downward trend in the number of unemployment claims filed. Mecklenburg County saw 19 fewer claims between February and March. Claims in Halifax were down by 48 and by 26 in Brunswick during that same period.
So far in 2023, labor markets in Mecklenburg, Halifax and Brunswick counties are showing few signs of cooling, despite concerns from economists at the national level who are predicting that rising interest rates will slow the pace of job growth.
Elsewhere in March:
Charlotte County’s jobless rate fell from 3.3 percent in February to 3.0 percent in March.
Lunenburg County’s rate fell from 3.5 percent in February to 3.2 percent in March.
Pittsylvania County’s unemployment rate remained flat at 3.2 percent.
The unadjusted employment rate for the United States was 3.6 percent in March and 2.8 percent in Virginia.