While unemployment in Central Virginia may be pleasantly-low, particularly when compared to Southside, things are still slumping in ways that pure employment numbers don’t capture. 3,100 jobs were lost from ’98-’03 (largely thanks to NAFTA), with notable mass-layoffs including Comdial and Technicolor. Most of those people found jobs, but instead of making $35k performing skilled steps in the manufacturing process or managing the assembly line, they’re welcoming people to Wal-Mart. A just-completed study found that the job growth of the last few years has occurred in jobs that pay 40% less than the jobs that were lost. The result? The rich are just as rich as always, while more and more people are becoming poor. Reed Williams has the story in today’s Progress.