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News Release Information

Thursday, July 30, 2020

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Richmond Area Employment — June 2020

Local Rate of Employment Loss Slower Than National Average

Total nonfarm employment for the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area stood at 636,900 in June 2020, down 54,800, or 7.9 percent, over the year, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. During the same period, the national job count decreased 8.7 percent. Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that the June decrease marked three consecutive months of over-the-year job losses in the Richmond metropolitan area. (See chart 1 and table 1. The Technical Note at the end of this release contains the metropolitan area definition. All data in this release are not seasonally adjusted; accordingly, over-the-year analysis is used throughout.)

  Chart 1. Total nonfarm employment, over-the-year percent changes in the United States and Richmond metropolitan area, June 2015-June 2020

In the greater Richmond metropolitan area, leisure and hospitality had the largest employment decline from June 2019 to June 2020, losing 19,900 jobs. The recent decrease represented a 28.0-percent rate of job loss over the year in the local area, similar to the nationwide decline of 27.1 percent for this industry.

From June 2019 to June 2020, one other local supersector lost more than 10,000 jobs: education and health services (-10,500). Locally, the rate of job loss, at 10.4 percent, was nearly double that of the nation, down 5.7 percent over the year. (See chart 2.)

  Chart 2. Over-the-year percent change in employment by selected industry supersector, United States and the Richmond metropolitan area, June 2020

One supersector in the Richmond area had an employment increase over 1,000 since June 2019: financial activities (+1,700). The local area supersector had a 3.2-percent increase in jobs from June 2019 to June 2020, while nationwide, the supersector declined 1.5 percent.

Metropolitan area employment data for July 2020 are scheduled to be released on Friday, August 21, 2020, at 10:00 a.m. (EDT).

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Impact on June 2020 Establishment Survey Data

BLS has continued to review all estimation and methodological procedures for the establishment survey, which included the review of data, estimation processes, the application of the birth-death model, and seasonal adjustment. Business births and deaths cannot be adequately captured by the establishment survey as they occur. Therefore, the Current Employment Statistics (CES) program uses a model to account for the relatively stable net employment change generated by business births and deaths. Due to the impact of COVID-19, the relationship between business births and deaths is no longer stable. Typically, reports with zero employment are not included in estimation. For the May final and June preliminary estimates, CES included a portion of these reports in the estimates and made modifications to the birth-death model. In addition for both months, the establishment survey included a portion of the reports that returned to reporting positive employment from reporting zero employment. For more information, see


In the establishment survey, workers who are paid by their employer for all or any part of the pay period including the 12th of the month are counted as employed, even if they were not actually at their jobs. Workers who are temporarily or permanently absent from their jobs and are not being paid are not counted as employed, even if they are continuing to receive benefits. The length of the reference period does vary across the respondents in the establishment survey; one-third of businesses have a weekly pay period, slightly over 40 percent a bi-weekly, about 20 percent semi-monthly, and a small amount monthly.

Technical Note

This release presents nonfarm payroll employment estimates from the Current Employment Statistics (CES) program. The CES survey is a Federal-State cooperative endeavor between State employment security agencies and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Definitions. Employment data refer to persons on establishment payrolls who receive pay for any part of the pay period which includes the 12th of the month. Persons are counted at their place of work rather than at their place of residence; those appearing on more than one payroll are counted on each payroll. Industries are classified on the basis of their principal activity in accordance with the 2017 version of the North American Industry Classification System.

Method of estimation. CES State and Area employment data are produced using several estimation procedures. Where possible these data are produced using a "weighted link relative" estimation technique in which a ratio of current-month weighted employment to that of the previous-month weighted employment is computed from a sample of establishments reporting for both months. The estimates of employment for the current month are then obtained by multiplying these ratios by the previous month's employment estimates. The weighted link relative technique is utilized for data series where the sample size meets certain statistical criteria.

For some employment series, the sample of establishments is very small or highly variable. In these cases, a model-based approach is used in estimation. These models use the direct sample estimates (described above), combined with forecasts of historical (benchmarked) data to decrease volatility in estimation. Two different models (Fay-Herriot Model and Small Domain Model) are used depending on the industry level being estimated. For more detailed information about each model, refer to the BLS Handbook of Methods..

Annual revisions. Employment estimates are adjusted annually to a complete count of jobs, called benchmarks, derived principally from tax reports which are submitted by employers who are covered under state unemployment insurance (UI) laws. The benchmark information is used to adjust the monthly estimates between the new benchmark and the preceding one and also to establish the level of employment for the new benchmark month. Thus, the benchmarking process establishes the level of employment, and the sample is used to measure the month-to-month changes in the level for the subsequent months.

Reliability of the estimates. The estimates presented in this release are based on sample surveys, administrative data, and modeling and, thus, are subject to sampling and other types of errors. Sampling error is a measure of sampling variability—that is, variation that occurs by chance because a sample rather than the entire population is surveyed. Survey data are also subject to nonsampling errors, such as those which can be introduced into the data collection and processing operations. Estimates not directly derived from sample surveys are subject to additional errors resulting from the special estimation processes used. The sums of individual items may not always equal the totals shown in the same tables because of rounding.

Employment estimates. Measures of sampling error for the total nonfarm employment series are available for metropolitan areas and metropolitan divisions at Measures of sampling error for more detailed series at the area and division level are available upon request. Measures of sampling error for states at the supersector level and for the private service-providing, goods-producing, total private and total nonfarm levels are available on the BLS website at Information on recent benchmark revisions is available online at

Area definitions. The substate area data published in this release reflect the delineations issued by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget on dated April 10, 2018. A detailed list of the geographic definitions is available at


The Richmond, VA Metropolitan Statistical Area includes Amelia, Caroline, Charles City, Chesterfield, Cumberland, Dinwiddie, Goochland, Hanover, Henrico, King and Queen, King William, Louisa, New Kent, Powhatan, Prince George, and Sussex Counties and Colonial Heights, Hopewell, Petersburg, and Richmond cities in Virginia.

Additional information

More complete information on the technical procedures used to develop these estimates and additional data appear in Employment and Earnings, which is available online at Detailed industry employment data for metropolitan areas from the CES program are available from the State and Area Employment databases at

Information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (202) 691-5200; Federal Relay Service: (800) 877-8339.

Table 1. Employees on nonfarm payrolls by industry supersector, United States and the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area,
not seasonally adjusted (in thousands)
Area Back
Jun 2019 to
Jun 2020(1)

United States

Total nonfarm

Go to web page with historical data for series CEU0000000001
151,739 130,317 133,410 138,513 -13,226 -8.7

Mining and logging

Go to web page with historical data for series CEU1000000001
746 643 632 628 -118 -15.8


Go to web page with historical data for series CEU2000000001
7,699 6,465 7,073 7,359 -340 -4.4


Go to web page with historical data for series CEU3000000001
12,922 11,432 11,708 12,169 -753 -5.8

Trade, transportation, and utilities

Go to web page with historical data for series CEU4000000001
27,698 24,253 24,740 25,753 -1,945 -7.0


Go to web page with historical data for series CEU5000000001
2,874 2,607 2,561 2,586 -288 -10.0

Financial activities

Go to web page with historical data for series CEU5500000001
8,783 8,523 8,552 8,650 -133 -1.5

Professional and business services

Go to web page with historical data for series CEU6000000001
21,428 19,215 19,398 19,836 -1,592 -7.4

Education and health services

Go to web page with historical data for series CEU6500000001
23,939 21,972 22,243 22,569 -1,370 -5.7

Leisure and hospitality

Go to web page with historical data for series CEU7000000001
17,219 8,485 10,107 12,556 -4,663 -27.1

Other services

Go to web page with historical data for series CEU8000000001
5,970 4,564 4,852 5,254 -716 -12.0


Go to web page with historical data for series CEU9000000001
22,461 22,158 21,544 21,153 -1,308 -5.8

Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area

Total Nonfarm

Go to web page with historical data for series SMU51400600000000001
691.7 620.1 625.1 636.9 -54.8 -7.9

Mining, logging, & construction

Go to web page with historical data for series SMU51400601500000001
40.3 40.2 39.7 41.0 0.7 1.7


Go to web page with historical data for series SMU51400603000000001
32.2 29.8 29.8 30.1 -2.1 -6.5

Trade, transportation, & utilities

Go to web page with historical data for series SMU51400604000000001
122.0 110.0 111.3 115.5 -6.5 -5.3


Go to web page with historical data for series SMU51400605000000001
7.0 6.7 6.6 6.6 -0.4 -5.7

Financial activities

Go to web page with historical data for series SMU51400605500000001
53.6 54.4 54.9 55.3 1.7 3.2

Professional & business services

Go to web page with historical data for series SMU51400606000000001
119.6 110.2 113.8 113.7 -5.9 -4.9

Educational & health services

Go to web page with historical data for series SMU51400606500000001
100.7 88.8 91.0 90.2 -10.5 -10.4

Leisure & hospitality

Go to web page with historical data for series SMU51400607000000001
71.1 39.1 45.1 51.2 -19.9 -28.0

Other services

Go to web page with historical data for series SMU51400608000000001
32.9 28.8 29.0 29.3 -3.6 -10.9


Go to web page with historical data for series SMU51400609000000001
112.3 112.1 103.9 104.0 -8.3 -7.4

(1) State and regional data for the most recent month are preliminary; U.S. data are preliminary for two months.

SOURCE: Current Employment Statistics - National - State and Metropolitan Area


Last Modified Date: Thursday, July 30, 2020