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Virginia's unemployment rate held steady in July at the 7.1 percent rate from June, partly because of a drop in the number of jobless people seeking work, according to the Virginia Employment Commission.
The latest rate was up from 6.9 percent a year earlier. The rates weren't adjusted for seasonal factors.
The number employed in the state last month fell by 41,500, or slightly more than 1 percent, from June because of seasonal cutbacks, including schools closing for the summer, the VEC noted.
While the jobless rate for July remained stable, the state suffered losses in a handful of sectors, including construction, manufacturing and retail. In the trade, transportation and utilities sector, employment contracted by 3,400, or 0.5 percent, the VEC said.
One bright spot was the growth in professional-and-business-services jobs, which increased by 6,700, or 1 percent, from the June number.
The statewide payroll figure for July was up 12,500 from the July 2009 total and "the first time in almost two years that employment was above the year-ago level," the VEC said.
When ranked among jobless rates for the 50 states, Virginia's was the 14th lowest, according to Labor Department figures released Friday. The nationwide unemployment rate in July was 9.7 percent, up slightly from 9.6 percent in June.
The VEC is scheduled to release July's jobless figures for Virginia localities Sept. 1.