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Area’s jobless rate under 5 percent


The Fredericksburg-area unemployment rate fell in March to its lowest level since December 2008, according to Virginia Employment Commission data released Wednesday.

The region’s jobless rate was at 5.4 percent in March, down from 5.8 percent in February and 6.1 percent in March 2011.

The region comprises the city and Caroline, King George, Spotsylvania and Stafford counties. The figures have not been adjust for seasonal factors.

Spotsylvania, Stafford and Fauquier counties were all among just 12 Virginia localities with jobless rates below 5 percent in March. Arlington County led the way with a 3.5 percent rate.

The city of Fredericksburg continued to have the region’s highest jobless rate at 8.3 percent, but that was down 1.2 percentage points from the same time in 2011.

The region’s jobless rate is still higher than its 10-year average of 4.1 percent but close to its five-year average of 5.1 percent.

Virginia’s jobless rate was 5.7 percent in March, powered in large part by Northern Virginia’s 4.2 percent rate. The state finished tied with Iowa for the nation’s seventh-lowest jobless rate in March.

Nevada’s rate was highest at 11.9 percent, while North Dakota’s was lowest at 3.8 percent. The U.S. unadjusted rate was 8.4 percent.

Bill Freehling: 540/374-5405