Lynchburg Unemployment Falls to 5.8%

Lynchburg, VA - The unemployment number for Lynchburg hit a milestone Thursday. It finally fell below 6%. It sits at 5.8% now, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Experts say that puts our area a little better off than the rest of Virginia. Plus, it's been years since we've seen the unemployment rate this low.

There are 3,000 openings in the area.

Thursday, we found an entrepreneur who is making an opportunity of her own.

Drive down 5th street, and you've probably passed a small food stand once or twice. It's Bernadette's Take-Out. At least it was. Now, it's closed.

But, Bernadette's got a brand new restaurant on Old Forest Road. And in no time, it's taken off.

"I never tell anybody I was Rachael Ray. I just do my own thing," said Christian.

It's small businesses like this that help fuel our economy. In fact, 80% of the businesses in our hometown employ less than 25 people, says Brian Davis with Region 2000.

"We are really seeing hirings, openings across the area," said Davis.

Davis tells us unemployment's a whole percentage point lower than this time last year, thanks to businesses like Bernadette's. But, it's not all roses and butterflies.

"Really, retail and the food service industry are where we see a lot of jobs opening typically. But also we see a lot of turnover," said Davis.

Not the case at Bernadette's restaurant. Bernadette has a dedicated staff. She is hoping to hire even more. It's risky, going from a stand to a restaurant. But, it's a risk that served up success for this entrepreneur.

"I could've took money and did other things with it, but I did - I took a chance on this. I took a big risk and it worked out. It really did," said Christian.

As we reported, there are 3,000 job openings in our area. That is great. But, there's a good deal of competition for those jobs. There are 1.24 unemployed people for every job opening.