Virginia’s economy is improving, though with some uncertainty. It has become increasingly clear that the recovery is going to take a long time, into 2021 and potentially even further. There are some key numbers to watch as we gauge the trajectory of the recovery here in the Commonwealth.
9,300 is the number of jobs added to the Virginia economy in July. While this job growth is a positive sign, the pace of job growth has slowed. There were 25,200 jobs added in May and 78,700 jobs added in June. Furthermore, while we have had three months of straight job growth, the state is still a long way from adding back all of the jobs that were lost this spring.
233,000 is the number of Virginians who were receiving unemployment benefits at the end of August. This number is down from the peak in mid-May of more than 400,000; however, it remains very elevated. In a more typical time, fewer than 20,000 Virginians would be receiving unemployment benefits in a given week. Job losses have been concentrated in the Leisure & Hospitality and Retail Trade sectors, but there have been thousands of Virginians out of work in all sectors.
2.93% is the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage (FRM) rate last week, according to Freddie Mac. Mortgage rates have been at very low levels throughout the spring and summer. The 30-year FRM rate has been below 3% for the past six straight weeks. Economists are predicting that rates will remain low—as low as 3%—well into 2021. Low interest rates have fueled a surge in refinance activity and serve as an attractive incentive for home purchases.
81.2 is the measure of consumers’ confidence in the present economic situation. A measure over 100 indicates that individuals feel optimistic about the current economy. The consumer confidence measure had bumped up above 100 in June and July after plummeting when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in April and May. But the index fell again in August amidst concerns about surges in COVID cases and the end of some federal pandemic assistance.
For more information on the economic recovery in Virginia, check out the Virginia REALTORS® Monthly Economic Snapshot.