West Virginia’s unemployment rate continues to decline as the state, and the country, recover from the darkest days of the coronavirus pandemic.
The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate — at 4.6 percent — is now at its lowest point in more than 13 years, according to a statement from Workforce West Virginia.
The national unemployment rate for September is 4.8 percent. The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has now decreased for 17 straight months.
In a news conference Wednesday, Gov. Jim Justice also noted that the unadjusted rate is the lowest in the state’s history. Seasonal adjustment attempts to remove the influences of predictable seasonal patterns, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Examples of those patterns include “changes in weather, harvests, major holidays, and school schedules. Because these seasonal events follow a more or less regular pattern each year, their influence on statistical trends can be eliminated by seasonally adjusting the statistics from month to month.”
As a general rule, the monthly employment and unemployment numbers reported in the news are seasonally adjusted data. Seasonally adjusted data are useful when comparing several months of data. Annual average estimates are calculated from data that has not been adjusted for seasonal fluctuations.
September marks seven straight months that West Virginia’s unemployment rate has been lower than the national average.
Overall, West Virginia’s labor force participation rate has returned to its pre-pandemic level.