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National unemployment rate dips as Roanoke tries to bridge gap

Roanoke, Virginia – The nationwide unemployment rate finally saw a decline this October.

But recent new numbers show jobless claims back up this week to nearly 750,000 as coronavirus stimulus talks remain stalled.

With resumes in hand, a few people passed by the Roanoke Job Fair seeking employment on Thursday.

In September, the unemployment rate in Virginia rose to 6.2% but now it’s slowly taking a downward turn.

The Virginia Employment Commission says in mid-October, unemployment insurance claims decreased by two-thirds compared to May.

With a mini fair like this, Roanoke wants to help reduce those numbers even more.

“Help them with their job search so they can get back on their feet.” Williamson Road Branch Library Manager Toni Vinciguerra said.

A few of the interested individuals expressed their frustration with the job hunt as the pandemic has either laid them off or limited their opportunities.

But Vinicguerra said there are still some jobs up for grabs that can help the local community.

“I think there’s a lot of opportunities in the community and sometimes people just need a little help getting you to that point where they feel confident to apply for jobs,” Vinicguerra said.

Genevieve Sylla works for the HR department at Friendship Assisted Living and remembers the flood of applications she received at the beginning of the pandemic.

Sylla said this is a time where they are looking for the most housekeepers and nurses.

“The company cannot go on. We need people to come work for us,” Sylla said.

Other booth representatives said the hardest part of their job is to just get people to feel confident to apply.

Marco Harmon

I was born and raised in Roanoke, VA. I studied Communications Studies at Roanoke College, and I’ve been part of the news industry ever since. Visiting my favorite downtown Roanoke bars and restaurants with my friends is how I spend most of my free time when I'm not at the desk.

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