PHOTO: Unemployment claim

RICHMOND — Virginia's unemployment rate surged into double digits in April as the coronavirus pandemic forced businesses and schools to close and put hundreds of thousands of people out of work.

The state's jobless rate stood at 10.6% in April, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. The unemployment rate was up from only 2.9% a year ago in April 2019.

The government figures showed the state's jobless rate was 3.3% in March, but that data was collected before the worst of the coronavirus-related job losses hit the state.

Nearly 454,000 Virginians were counted as unemployed in April, out of a total workforce almost 4.3 million. That was up from 126,300 people who were counted as unemployed a year ago in April.

Before the pandemic, Virginia had experienced more than six years of positive employment growth.

Unemployment rates were higher in April in all 50 states and Washington D.C., the federal government report showed.

The national unemployment rate stood at 14.7%, up by 10.3 percentage points from the previous month and 11 percentage points higher than in April 2019.

The labor department said jobless rates in 43 states set record highs in April.

Nationwide, Nevada had the highest unemployment rate in April at 28.2%, followed by Michigan at 22.7%, and Hawaii at 22.3% percent.

Among Virginia's neighboring states, North Carolina's rate was 12.2%, Maryland's was 9.9%, and Tennessee's was 14.7%.

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