County reaches lowest unemployment rate since start of pandemic

By Zach Armstrong

PRINCE GEORGE, Va -- According to the Virginia Employment Commission, Prince George County reached its lowest unemployment rate since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in September of 2021 when it stood at 3.6%.

The county’s unemployment numbers have dropped steadily through the 2021 calendar year. The following numbers are the month by month county unemployment rates for this year: 6.5%, 6.1%, 6%, 4.6%, 4.8%, 5.2%, 4.7%, 4.3%, 3.6%.

The highest unemployment rate for the county since the spread of COVID-19 was in April of 2020 at 10.1%. September’s numbers make the county .6%, or 57 less unemployed persons, away from returning to pre-pandemic levels in February of 2020 when unemployment stood at 3%.

The latest numbers show Prince George has fared better than other localities. Hopewell, for example, currently has an unemployment rate of 6.2%. The current unemployment of the United States stands at 4.6%.

In 2020, the Board of Supervisors allocated $2.1 million in grants from the first round of CARES Act funding to small businesses that suffered most greatly.

“I only know of two businesses in Prince George that closed: Jerry’s Burger Shop on Jefferson Park Road and Rolls Royce.” said Deputy County Administrator Jeff Stoke. “One thing we've noticed is that it didn't hit big or small businesses, it hit certain sectors like retail, hospitality, travel and the airlines industry. Those sectors impacted had to come out of the woodworks to receive the funding we offered,”

On Oct. 22, the Prince George County Business Show and Job Fair was held at the Central Wellness Center. According to Stoke, 25 businesses were there with 40 prospective employees in attendance.

“People can now get off the sidelines and wake up from this covid slumber,” said Stoke. “The job fair showed that anyone in Prince George who wants a job can have one … plenty of businesses are eager to hire.”