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Unemployment claims up

Charlotte County is well below the national average and even the Virginia average unemployment rate when it comes to those who are jobless due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but even though that number is lower, claims are still high for the county according to Terra Bailey, Napier Business Services Coordinator with Virginia Career Works.

“Numbers are way up since the pandemic for Charlotte County and the region,” Napier said.

“At this time, we are not seeing a lot of job seekers. We are seeing a lot of furloughed individuals waiting to get back to their place of work.”

Charlotte County’s current unemployment rate is 4.6%. Virginia sits at 10.8%. The national unemployment rate is 14.4%.

Much of the commonwealth has been shut down, and businesses closed until Gov. Ralph Northam began Phase 1 of reopening Virginia May 15.

According to Napier, from March 14 to May 16 for Charlotte County, there were 560 unemployment claimants.

The Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) is reporting 44,699 initial unemployment benefit claims for the most current reported week ending on May 16. That number is down 14.3% from the week prior and 69.7% from the peak number of claims in the week ending April 4.

From April 2019 to April 2020, the VEC estimates that establishments in Virginia lost 365,200 jobs or 9% of jobs in the labor market.

Employment fell in all major industry sectors, with particularly heavy job losses in leisure and hospitality. According to the VEC, the category of leisure and hospitality, with a decline of 161,400 jobs to 240,800 in April.

For those in Charlotte who are without employment, Napier says Virginia Career Works is working to assist individuals in finding employment and unemployment assistance information.

The Virginia Career Works office is currently closed to the public, but Napier said job seekers are encouraged to reach out to them by phone, email, mail, or video conferencing.

“We are glad to help in whichever service delivery way best meets their individual needs,” she said.

The Charlotte Courthouse office of Virginia Career Works can be reached by calling (434) 542-5605.