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News Release Information

Wednesday, February 05, 2020


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Richmond Area Employment — December 2019

Local Rate of Employment Growth Faster Than National Average

Total nonfarm employment for the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area stood at 696,500 in December 2019, up 13,500, or 2.0 percent, over the year, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. During the same period, the national job count increased 1.4 percent. Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that the December increase marked almost 10 consecutive years of over-the-year employment gains 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.)

In the greater Richmond metropolitan area, education and health services had the largest employment gain from December 2018 to December 2019, adding 5,400 jobs. The recent advance represented a 5.4-percent rate of job growth over the year in the local area, double the nationwide advance of 2.7 percent for this industry.

From December 2018 to December 2019, two other local supsersectors each added more than 1,000 jobs: leisure and hospitality (+4,400) and professional and business services (+1,900). Locally, the rate of job growth in leisure and hospitality (7.1 percent) was nearly triple that of the nation (2.5 percent), while professional and business services growth (1.6 percent) was lower than the national job growth rate (1.9 percent). (See chart 2.)

No supersector in the Richmond area had an employment decrease that exceeded 1,000 jobs. Two local area supersectors—manufacturing and information—had no change in jobs from December 2018 to December 2019.

Metropolitan area employment data for January 2020 are scheduled to be released on Monday, March 16, 2020, at 10:00 a.m. (EDT).

Technical Note

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 down to the supersector level 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, 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
Dec 2018 to
Dec 2019(1)

United States

Total nonfarm

151,203 153,001 153,620 153,342 2,139 1.4

Mining and logging

753 759 745 731 -22 -2.9


7,313 7,713 7,603 7,456 143 2.0


12,815 12,820 12,869 12,865 50 0.4

Trade, transportation, and utilities

28,512 27,918 28,486 28,660 148 0.5


2,839 2,836 2,864 2,857 18 0.6

Financial activities

8,622 8,732 8,729 8,744 122 1.4

Professional and business services

21,345 21,815 21,877 21,745 400 1.9

Education and health services

24,092 24,654 24,785 24,737 645 2.7

Leisure and hospitality

16,213 16,804 16,592 16,614 401 2.5

Other services

5,859 5,944 5,943 5,935 76 1.3


22,840 23,006 23,127 22,998 158 0.7

Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area

Total Nonfarm

683.0 687.9 695.6 696.5 13.5 2.0

Mining, logging, & construction

39.5 39.7 39.7 39.6 0.1 0.3


32.7 32.5 32.6 32.7 0.0 0.0

Trade, transportation, & utilities

127.6 122.6 125.1 127.0 -0.6 -0.5


7.1 7.0 7.1 7.1 0.0 0.0

Financial activities

51.8 52.7 53.2 52.7 0.9 1.7

Professional & business services

116.7 115.9 118.3 118.6 1.9 1.6

Educational & health services

99.4 102.8 104.3 104.8 5.4 5.4

Leisure & hospitality

61.8 67.7 67.2 66.2 4.4 7.1

Other services

32.2 33.1 33.1 33.0 0.8 2.5


114.2 113.9 115.0 114.8 0.6 0.5

(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: Wednesday, February 05, 2020