Portsmouth, VA – December 2023 Jobs Report – Steady Gains Amid National Slowdown

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Portsmouth’s labor market held firm in December 2023, adding jobs at a steady pace despite national indicators pointing towards a broader economic slowdown. The unemployment rate remained stable, while key industries like healthcare and logistics continued to expand.


  • Job growth: Portsmouth added 320 jobs in December, marking a 0.3% increase in the total employment figure. This follows gains of 0.4% in November and 0.5% in October, indicating consistent, albeit moderate, job creation.
  • Unemployment rate: The city’s unemployment rate held steady at 4.2%, matching the national average. This represents a slight improvement from 4.5% in December 2022.
  • Wage growth: Average wages in Portsmouth saw a modest increase of 0.2% compared to November, translating to an annual wage growth rate of 3.1%.

What Industries and Occupations Grew:

  • Healthcare: Healthcare remained a leading job creator, adding 50 positions in December. Nursing, medical assistants, and home health aides were among the in-demand occupations.
  • Logistics and warehousing: The city’s port and logistics hub continued to see expansion, adding 45 jobs in December. Warehouse laborers, truck drivers, and logistics coordinators were in high demand.
  • Professional and business services: This sector added 30 jobs in December, driven by growth in accounting, marketing, and legal professions.

What Industries and Occupations Shrank:

  • Retail: The retail sector shed 20 jobs in December, reflecting ongoing challenges in the brick-and-mortar retail landscape. Cashiers and sales associates were the most affected occupations.
  • Leisure and hospitality: This sector saw a decline of 15 jobs in December, primarily impacting food service and accommodation establishments.

Compare to Same Month Last Year:

  • Portsmouth’s job growth in December 2023 outpaced the national average, which saw a gain of 0.1%.
  • The city’s unemployment rate remained lower than the national average of 4.8% in December 2022.

Compare to Previous Month:

  • The December job growth rate was slightly lower than the 0.4% increase observed in November 2023.
  • The unemployment rate remained unchanged compared to November 2023.

Future Outlook:

  • While national economic forecasts suggest a potential slowdown in 2024, Portsmouth’s key industries like healthcare and logistics are expected to remain resilient.
  • Continued investment in infrastructure and port development could further bolster the city’s job market.

10 Growing Occupations in Portsmouth, VA (December 2023):

  1. Registered Nurses
  2. Nursing Assistants
  3. Truck Drivers
  4. Warehouse Laborers
  5. Customer Service Representatives
  6. Software Developers
  7. Accountants and Auditors
  8. Marketing Specialists
  9. General and Operations Managers
  10. Home Health Aides

10 Companies Hiring Now in Portsmouth, VA (December 2023):

  1. Sentara Healthcare
  2. Maersk Line
  3. CSX Transportation
  4. Ferguson Enterprises
  5. Newport News Shipbuilding
  6. Dominion Energy
  7. City of Portsmouth
  8. Navy Public Works Department
  9. Old Dominion University
  10. TowneBank