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Local jobless numbers go up

The federal government shutdown, which lasted for the first 16 days of October, temporarily drove up the Fredericksburg area’s unemployment rate.

That is reflected in unemployment data for October that the Virginia Employment Commission released Thursday.

The effect was particularly pronounced in Stafford County, where many people work as government contractors and for the federal government.

Though Stafford’s jobless rate was still fairly low at 5.3 percent in October, it was up from 4.6 percent in September and 4.7 percent in October 2012.

Further, Stafford’s jobless rate for October ranked tied for 36th lowest among Virginia’s 134 localities. Typically Stafford places comfortably in the top 20.

In the city of Fredericksburg, the jobless rate went from 7.3 percent in September to 8 percent in October. That was still slightly lower than the city’s 8.1 percent rate in October 2012.

October rates in Spotsylvania County (4.9 percent), Caroline County (5.8 percent) and King George County (6.3 percent) didn’t fluctuate as significantly from September. Caroline’s fell one-tenth of a percentage point from the month before.

The jobless rate for the region went from 5 percent in September to 5.5 percent in October. That meant the region had the same jobless rate in October as the state as a whole. The Fredericksburg-area rate has typically been a little lower than the state’s.

The region and state continued to have a significantly lower rate in October than the United States. Nationally, the jobless rate was 7 percent that month.

Bill Freehling: 540/374-5405


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