RICHMOND—Virginia employment levels rose and unemployment dropped in October.

Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased 0.1 percentage point in October to 2.6 percent, which is 0.2 percentage point below the rate from a year ago. In October, the labor force expanded for the sixteenth consecutive month by 13,547, or 0.3 percent to set a new record high of 4,427,753, as the number of unemployed residents decreased by 2,368. Household employment increased by 15,915 to set a new high of 4,311,113. Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continues to be below the national rate, which increased to 3.6 percent.

“Virginia’s economy is headed in the right direction,” said Governor Northam, traveling on an economic development mission in the Middle East. “The competition for talent is on, because low unemployment gives workers more options about where to work. Next month, we will put forward a budget that continues investing in workforce development to ensure long-term, shared economic growth in our Commonwealth. We want Virginia to be the best state to work in and the best place to run a business.”

Virginia has the lowest seasonally adjusted unemployment rate among the Southeast states along with South Carolina. Virginia has the second best rate among the states east of the Mississippi along with New Hampshire and South Carolina. Virginia is ranked fourth in the nation for the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate along with Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina.

Over-the-year employment growth in Virginia has been positive for 67 consecutive months. For October, Virginia’s over-the-year growth of 0.7 percent was lower than the national rate. Nationally, over-the-year growth slowed in October to 1.4 percent from 1.5 percent in September and August.

In October, the private sector recorded an over-the-year gain of 32,400 jobs, while employment in the public sector decreased by 2,800 jobs. Compared to a year ago, on a seasonally adjusted basis, eight of the eleven major industry divisions experienced employment gains, while the other three experienced employment losses.