NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) -- According to the Center for Economic Analysis and Policy, unemployment in Hampton Roads has declined and labor force has increased since May of 2016.

The overall size of civilian labor in Hampton Roads has increased 0.91 percent, or 7,615 workers from May of 2016 to May of 2017.

The unemployment rate in the region went from 4.2 percent to 4.3 percent. The number of unemployed workers decreased from 35,886 in May of 2016 to 35,721 in May of 2017. That means 165 unemployed people have been employed.

Even with these positive numbers, the region is still struggling to generate sustainable job growth.

In Hampton Roads the number of nonfarm jobs is 1,100 less from May of last year to May of this year. This is a 0.1 percent yearly decline.

A possible explanation for the decrease in unemployment and available jobs is that part-time workers has fallen significantly relative to the number of full-time workers.

No data is available specifically in the Hampton Roads area, but nationally the numbers have shown the trend of part-time jobs being eliminated and filled by full-time opportunities.

With a lot of changes happening in the near future on the federal level, like health care, tax reform, and the overall size of the federal budget it's hard to project the economic growth for 2018 in Hampton Roads.

However, with the current drafts of the national defense authorization and appropriations bills in Congress, the Center for Economic Analysis and Policy believes the defense budget will increase significantly in the coming fiscal year.

With the large military presence in Hampton Roads, this is extremely likely to increase the prospects for growth in 2018.