Virginia Is for Workers

Virginia’s October unemployment rate has hit a 52-month low — 3.2 percent — and is tied with Florida’s for the lowest seasonally adjusted rate in the nation. According to the latest Virginia Employment Commission numbers, the number of unemployed persons fell by 12,000 in one month.

This is not just a Northern Virginia phenomenon fed by federal defense/homeland security spending, although NoVa has led the state in job creation. Employment in metropolitan areas is strong across the entire state, excepting only Danville, and even there it’s dropping. Here’s the wrap up:

U.S. – 4.6 percent
Virginia – 3.2 percent
Blacksburg – 3.3 percent
Charlottesville – 2.6 percent
Danville – 7.4 percent
Harrisonburg – 2.6 percent
Lynchburg – 3.5 percent
Northern Virginia – 2.3 percent
Richmond – 3.5 percent
Roanoke – 3.1 percent
Hampton Roads – 3.8 percent
Winchester – 2.5 percent

Other good news from the VEC: Wages for Virginia’s manufacturing employees increased 5.7 percent over the previous 12 months. A surge in factory orders caused the workweek to leap ahead by 1.4 hours to 43.6 hours.

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4 responses to “Virginia Is for Workers”

  1. Jim Bacon Avatar

    I should have added: Virginia’s strong economic performance is an eloquent rebuttal to the suggestion by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership’s new director, Jeffrey Anderson, that Virginia should be more aggressive with incentives to attract more business. We’re doing just fine without incentives. Indeed, one thing that businesses in Virginia may well appreciate is the fact that they enjoy a level playing field. We don’t have two classes of businesses — those who negotiate special tax breaks at the expense of everyone else, and those that don’t.

  2. Terry M. Avatar

    RE: Incentives (from the Martinsville Daily)

    Board agrees to performance contract with Bassett Furniture
    by Bill Wyatt (Thursday December 1, 2005 at 6:21 pm)
    The Henry County Board of Supervisors voted unanamously to enter into a performance agreement with Bassett Furniture Industries that says if Bassett will grow its payroll from 420 to 497 employess in four years, the county will award the company a grant of $59,250 each year for the next four years. Bassett Furniture must also invest $2 million in capital improvements in its facilities over the same period.

    If they can add 77 jobs in four years, why do they need these incentives?

  3. James Young Avatar
    James Young

    Obviously, too, Virginia’s Right to Work law is an important part of the overall mix.

    And you knew I was going to say that.

  4. Jim Bacon Avatar

    Terry M, I stand corrected. Yes, Virginia — and many localities — do offer incentives. The Governor’s Opportunity Fund is one source of incentive money; the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification fund is another. Localities sometimes kick in, too. To be more precise, Virginia doesn’t offer the massive incentives that other states do.

    Mr. Young, you are quite right — the Right to Work law is critical to Virginia’s business climate. I take it for granted (though, perhaps, I shouldn’t.)

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