Nov 30, 2022 - News

Employment in Richmond back to pre-pandemic levels

Change in jobs in Richmond, by sector
Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Note: October 2022 data is preliminary; Chart: Axios Visuals

The Richmond-area job market is back to pre-pandemic levels of employment as of last month.

Why it matters: During the depths of the pandemic, more than 70,000 jobs vanished from the region — a huge economic hit from which we're only just recovering.

What's happening: The latest U.S. Department of Labor figures show 687,000 people were employed in Richmond and the surrounding counties as of last month.

  • That's a thousand more jobs than what was recorded in February 2020, the month before widespread shutdowns began.

By the numbers: The recovery has not been equal across industries. The leisure and hospitality industry has seen the biggest gains, followed by business services, a sector that includes the IT, procurement and shipping industries.

  • Meanwhile, the number of government, construction and finance and insurance industry jobs are still below pre-pandemic levels.

Of note: The Greater Richmond Partnership, which highlighted the latest jobs numbers in an analysis released this week, noted the news isn't all good.

  • "Greater Richmond lags just behind the U.S. average for jobs recovery, but progress is still happening," the economic development organization's president, Jennifer Wakefield, said in a statement.

What they're saying: Wakefield said the region's low unemployment rate, 3.4%, can make hiring tough, potentially hampering continued growth.

  • She urged employers looking to expand to consider partnering with day cares to make sure child care is available for employees.
  • She also suggested employers embrace alternative work schedules that permit remote and hybrid workplaces.
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