There is, however, a factor that influences those numbers in a major way when jobs data relating to Southside and Southwest Virginia are analyzed. It has to do with the number of available employees in the area (the denominator, if you will). A related story in the news today:
City's population continues to plungeAccording to that same 2000 Census, the majority of counties in Southwest Virginia have lost population as well (see Buchanan, Dickenson, Tazewell) or are now losing population according to statistical projections (see Grayson, Allegheny, Henry, Russell, Scott, Smyth, Wise) (see statistics here)
By Bernard Baker, Danville Register & Bee staff writer
DANVILLE, Va. - Danville is the only metropolitan area in Virginia that has lost population since the 2000 Census.
Danville’s population has dropped about 4 percent since 2000, according to the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service. (link)
So, while we can celebrate the improving unemployment numbers, we have to temper that enthusiasm with the understanding that we have a rapidly dwindling workforce. Our unemployed workers aren't waiting around for those bike path jobs to kick in. They're hopping on their bicycles and taking those paths north - never to return - in the hope of finding a job and the opportunity for a future.