Virginia's unemployment rate fell to 5.6% in the month of November according to data released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is tied with March, April and May of this year for the lowest unemployment rate in the Commonwealth since December 2008. Virginia has the lowest unemployment rate in the Southeast, and is now tied with New Hampshire for the second-lowest unemployment rate east of the Mississippi River. The unemployment rate was 7.2% in February 2010, the first full month of the McDonnell Administration. Since Governor McDonnell took office, Virginia has added 150,500 net new jobs, the 8th highest amount in the nation.
Speaking about today's report, Governor McDonnell noted, "Working together across party lines we are creating an environment in Virginia in which the private sector can grow and create new, good paying jobs for our citizens. Job creation is the foremost priority of our Administration. It's been our focus since we took office, and will remain our focus until our last day in Richmond. Our efforts are getting results. Virginia has the lowest unemployment rate in the Southeast, by far. We are tied with New Hampshire for the second lowest unemployment rate east of the Mississippi River. During our administration, 150,000 net new jobs have been created, and the number of unemployed Virginians has decreased by 21%. More Virginians are working today than when we came into office. This is real progress.
"Our formula has been simple. We've focused on getting the state's fiscal house in order, turning two budget shortfalls totaling $6 billion into three straight budget surpluses totaling $1.4 billion. We did that without raising taxes. At the same time, we have invested wisely in the core functions of government critical to job creation. We put the most new funding into transportation in a generation. We put new resources into higher education, leading to the lowest average yearly tuition increase at Virginia's colleges and universities in a generation, and adding more slots at our schools for in-state students. We have strengthened and improved our K-12 system. And we have aggressively and proactively gone after new businesses looking to relocate or expand. This work, done by Republicans and Democrats, leaders in Richmond and in our counties and cities, is getting results. More Virginians are back at work. Unemployment is falling. Virginia is leading the nation and demonstrating how smart public policy can help the private sector grow and get our economy back on track. Still, even with this positive news today, there remain far too many Virginians without work. That is a tragedy and it is unacceptable. Our work will not be done until there is good work available for all Virginians, in every city and county in the Commonwealth."