VIRGINIA

Virginia's unemployment rate increases in May

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The Virginia Employment Commission says the state's jobless rate increased slightly in May after two consecutive months of decreases.

The state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 5.3 percent in May. That's up from 5.2 percent in April, and down from 5.9 percent a year ago.

Virginia's unemployment rate has been trending down since joblessness peaked at 7.4 percent from December 2009 until March 2010.

In April, the state unemployment rate fell to its lowest since November 2008.

The Labor Department says unemployment rates fell in half of U.S. states in May, rose in 17 and were unchanged in eight.

Nationally, the economy added 175,000 jobs in May, nearly matching the average monthly gain for the past year. The unemployment rate ticked up to 7.6 percent from 7.5 percent, but for a good reason: More Americans were confident they could find work and began searching for a job.

In Virginia, the labor force expanded for the second consecutive month, as both more people reported working and more people began looking for work.

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