Workforce Wrap Up: Key Takeaways from the 2018 State of the Commonwealth Report

Workforce development is at the heart of Goodwill’s mission, so we work closely with government agencies, community partners and employers to stay abreast of issues affecting the workforce climate in Central and Coastal Virginia. From the State of the Commonwealth report to ghosting in the workplace, here’s the latest Workforce Wrap Up.

In December, Old Dominion University published its 2018 State of the Commonwealth Report, the fourth report of its kind, meant to stimulate “thought and discussion that ultimately will make Virginia an even better place to live.”

Here are two of the key takeaways relating to workforce.

1. Virginia unemployment rate drops to 2.8%, a 10-year low.

With the unemployment rate at its lowest in a decade, “the challenge now is to find qualified individuals, given that Virginia’s unemployment rate is near what most economists would consider full employment,” the report says.

2. While the unemployment rate has declined, the labor force participation rate in Virginia and the nation has also declined. 

Labor force participation is the percentage of people who are either working or actively seeking work.”

The current labor force participation rate stands at 65.2 percent in Virginia; it peaked before the Great Recession at almost 70 percent. The reasoning behind the diminished rate is unclear and could be due to several factors such as an aging population, a mismatch between available jobs and workforce skills, stagnant wages and even the opioid crisis.

Also in the news…

1. Five employer resolutions for the new year

The Richmond Times-Dispatch shares five employer resolutions for the new year including updating your Code of Conduct and anti-harassment policies and rethinking performance management. Here’s to a productive 2019!

2. Governor Northam addresses workforce development in his State of the Commonwealth address

“If Virginia is going to succeed in the economy of the future, we must expand our advantage in higher education and continue to reform our approach to workforce training. That effort should begin with better aligning our four-year universities, community colleges and skills training programs with the needs of modern-day students and the employers who are waiting to hire them.”

3. Ghosting in the workplace on the rise 

If you thought “ghosting” was reserved for romantic relationships gone bad, think again. The Washington Post reports that the millennial practice of abandoning relationships without a peep is infiltrating the workplace. People are leaving their jobs without notice, never to be heard from again.

From applicants who don’t show up for interviews and new-hires who change their minds to workers leaving after a shift and not returning, the problem is pervasive. With job openings surpassing the number of seekers for eight straight months, workers are confident that better jobs await them, and employers will need to find effective ways to engage and retain them.