Department of Labor Logo United States Department of Labor
Dot gov

The .gov means it's official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you're on a federal government site.


The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

News Release Information

Wednesday, February 05, 2020


Technical information:
Media contact:

Virginia Beach Area Employment — December 2019

Local Rate of Employment Growth Below the National Average

Total nonfarm employment for the Virginia Beach Metropolitan Statistical Area stood at 797,400 in December 2019, up 1.1 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 was the ninth consecutive month of over-the-year job increases in the Virginia Beach 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 Virginia Beach metropolitan area, leisure and hospitality had the largest employment increase from December 2018 to December 2019, adding 4,600 jobs. The local rate of job growth in leisure and hospitality was 5.2 percent, more than double this industry’s national rate increase of 2.5 percent.

Virginia Beach’s education and health services supersector had the second largest increase over the year, adding 1,900 jobs. The local rate of job growth in the supersector was 1.7 percent, slower than the national rate of 2.7 percent.

Two other supersectors had job increases equal to or greater than 1,000 over the year. Manufacturing added 1,300 jobs, and financial activities added 1,000 jobs. The local rate of job growth in manufacturing was 2.2 percent, five-and-a-half times faster than the 0.4-percent gain nationally. Virginia Beach’s job growth in financial activities (2.6 percent) was also faster than that for the nation (1.4 percent). (See chart 2.)

In the Virginia Beach area, two supersectors lost more than 1,000 jobs from December 2018 to December 2019: government (-3,500) and trade, transportation, and utilities (-1,300). While the local rate of job loss within government was 2.2 percent, employment for the U.S. grew 0.7 percent. Locally, employment in trade, transportation, and utilities declined by 1.0 percent since December 2018, while nationally it increased 0.5 percent over the year.

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

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 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 Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC Metropolitan Statistical Area includes Gloucester, Isle of Wight, James City, Mathews, Surry, and York Counties and Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Poquoson, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Virginia Beach, and Williamsburg cities in Virginia and Currituck County in North Carolina.


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 Virginia Beach Metropolitan Statistical Area,
not seasonally adjusted (in thousands)
Area Back
Dec 2018 to
Dec 2019

United States

Total nonfarm

151,203 153,001 (p)153,620 (p)153,342 (p)2,139 (p)1.4

Mining and logging

753 759 (p)745 (p)731 (p)-22 (p)-2.9


7,313 7,713 (p)7,603 (p)7,456 (p)143 (p)2.0


12,815 12,820 (p)12,869 (p)12,865 (p)50 (p)0.4

Trade, transportation, and utilities

28,512 27,918 (p)28,486 (p)28,660 (p)148 (p)0.5


2,839 2,836 (p)2,864 (p)2,857 (p)18 (p)0.6

Financial activities

8,622 8,732 (p)8,729 (p)8,744 (p)122 (p)1.4

Professional and business services

21,345 21,815 (p)21,877 (p)21,745 (p)400 (p)1.9

Education and health services

24,092 24,654 (p)24,785 (p)24,737 (p)645 (p)2.7

Leisure and hospitality

16,213 16,804 (p)16,592 (p)16,614 (p)401 (p)2.5

Other services

5,859 5,944 (p)5,943 (p)5,935 (p)76 (p)1.3


22,840 23,006 (p)23,127 (p)22,998 (p)158 (p)0.7

Virginia Beach Metropolitan Statistical Area

Total nonfarm

789.1 794.3 796.9 (p)797.4 (p)8.3 (p)1.1

Mining, logging, and construction

38.0 42.5 42.3 (p)42.4 (p)4.4 (p)11.6


57.9 58.8 59.1 (p)59.2 (p)1.3 (p)2.2

Trade, transportation, and utilities

132.5 128.4 130.5 (p)131.2 (p)-1.3 (p)-1.0


10.3 10.2 10.2 (p)10.2 (p)-0.1 (p)-1.0

Financial activities

38.6 39.6 39.8 (p)39.6 (p)1.0 (p)2.6

Professional and business services

113.1 112.9 112.9 (p)112.8 (p)-0.3 (p)-0.3

Education and health services

113.2 115.4 115.1 (p)115.1 (p)1.9 (p)1.7

Leisure and hospitality

89.0 94.9 92.1 (p)93.6 (p)4.6 (p)5.2

Other services

35.5 36.0 35.9 (p)35.8 (p)0.3 (p)0.8


161.0 155.6 159.0 (p)157.5 (p)-3.5 (p)-2.2

(p) Preliminary

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


Last Modified Date: Wednesday, February 05, 2020