By Mark Kelly
Lynchburg, VA – The unemployment numbers closer to home have been improving, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. And Lynchburg City Council wants to get a better handle on this.
Right now, the city’s building a task force to answer that question. The latest local data from August shows an improving unemployment rate. But remember that in July unemployment spiked, and that got the city wheels turning.
Good news for Lynchburg from Richmond. The Federal Reserve Bank says we’ve seen the highest monthly percentage jump in job gains compared to other metros in Virginia. The Hill City’s unemployment is at 7.7%. But, that improving number is from August. July’s number is not so good: 8.9% unemployment. That’s a high number that had some sweating.
“It’s vitally important to our local economy to reduce that rate,” said H. Cary, Lynchburg City Council member.
Lynchburg City Council Member H. Cary decided to act. His idea: a task force of leaders from the private and public sector to tame the unemployment number.
“Why is it the way it is? Is there anything we can do to bring it down? That’s what I’m looking for,” said Cary.
“The recession and unemployment has really affected everybody in this region,” said Bryan David, Region 2000, director.
Bryan David with Region 2000 says Central Virginia dove in to the Great Recession later, fell deeper, and is now climbing out of it more slowly. But, we are climbing out. The newest trend line shows hope: Central Virginia’s businesses are diverse and coming back.
“We are back on that road of recovery and expansion,” said David.
The task force to wrestle with unemployment is still in the blueprint phase. But leaders say workforce training and education are top government priorities.
“If we can get the folks trained so they got the job skills that meet the jobs that are available, our unemployment rate’s going to go down. And that’s what we want,” said Cary.
The task force to wrestle with unemployment is still in the blueprint phase. Expect it to get approved by early November.