Virginia’s Major Metro Economies Looking Pretty Darn Good

The Golden Crescent is still shining.

I’ve been ragging on my home town of Richmond in recent months, based upon Brookings Institution data, for its lagging economic performance coming out of the recession. Now comes a ranking of metropolitan areas published by Policom Corporation in which the fair city upon the James fares quite well, 35th among the nation’s 366 metropolitan areas in 2012.

The Washington metro area scores numero uno — No. 1 — so our friends in Northern Virginia still have bragging rights. And Hampton Roads outscores Richmond, too, racking up a 25th place ranking. But No. 35 ain’t so shabby. When you consider that four Virginia metros (including Charlottesville) score in the top 10 percentile, the Old Dominion must be doing something right.

Here are the rankings for all Virginia’s metropolitan and micropolitan areas:

1. Washington
25. Hampton Roads (Norfolk-Virginia Beach)
28. Charlottesville
35. Richmond
121. Winchester
173. Harrisonburg
197. Roanoke
218. Blacksburg
295. Bristol/Kingsport/Johnson City
312. Lynchburg
364. Danville

Outside Virginia’s major metro areas (and Charlottesville), the economy was not so hot. Danville residents call a Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission near you. Whatever they’re doing with all those tobacco allotment funds, it’s not working. (But Danville residents can take some consolation in the fact they don’t live in Danville, Ill. That pitiful burg ranked dead last.)

Policom rated economic strength by means of a composite of 23 factors including the level of, and growth rate of, earnings, jobs and personal income while deducting for welfare and Medicaid payments.

“The top rated areas have had rapid, consistent growth in both size and quality for an extended period of time,” said William H. Fruth, President of POLICOM, a firm that specializes in analyzing local and state economies. “The rankings do not reflect the latest ‘hotspot’ or boom town, but the areas which have the best economic foundation. While most communities have slowed or declined during this recession, the strongest areas have been able to weather the storm.”


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  1. DJRippert Avatar

    Allentown – Bethlehem – Easton: From 130 in 2004 to 32 now.

    Didn’t Billy Joel sing a song about Allentown?

    Something like:

    Well, we’re living here in Allentown
    And they’re shutting all the factories down

    It was a very sad song.

    Looks like Billy Joel and all the other libtards who blamed society and “the 1%” for Allentown – Bethlehem – Easton’s troubles forgot about one thing – the people living there.

    Note to Bob McDonnell and Imperial Clown Show: Make next boondoggle a trip to Allentown – Bethlehem – Easton. Find out what they have done to move so quickly up the rankings. Apply this philosophy to Danville.

  2. larryg Avatar

    If there ever was a case for a City/Town to reinvent itself, it is Danville.

    But… we seem to often talk out of both sides of the mouth here on what Govt’s role is (or is not) in job creation.

    I realize it’s an esoteric question now that the textile mills and furniture factories are gone from Danville but why ..HOW did Danville START OUT as a center of textile and furniture to start with? I’m pretty sure it had little to do with govt even in a “incubation” role.

    It was WAY off the beaten path – no interstates “connected” it but rail did.

  3. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    “Looking pretty darned good…”

    I wonder why?

    Federal spending! That’s why!

  4. larryg Avatar

    Danville could be the next NoVa if the Feds spent there like they do in NoVa, eh?

  5. FreeDem Avatar

    The Tobacco Commission is a total failure. But the good ol’ boys in Southside are happy to have an extra way to hand out favors. Not the same as Virgil back in the day, but it will do.

  6. Thad Hunter Avatar
    Thad Hunter

    As in nature, the offspring who gets to the mother’s teat first always grows faster. NoVa has become a government contracting piglet. We ought to be focused on rebuilding the tech industry.

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