We learned a lot in Staunton. Here’s a few numbers that will illustrate the economic trends in Virginia, most of which indicate the growth (or lack of it) in our state economy since the Great Recession, January 2008-March 2010, ended:
10.4, 7.5, 7.6. The annual growth rate of our economy in the 1980′s, 1990′s and 2000′s.
3.9. Our annual growth rate from 2010.
144,000 The number of jobs lost in manufacturing & construction in 2008-2010.
4,000 The number of jobs gained back in those sectors since.
51,000 The number of jobs gained in education/health services since 2010. (note: that’s our highest sector for job growth).
0.06% Overall growth rate of Virginia economy in 2012-2013.
48th Ranking by state of our economic growth in 2012-2013. (MD is 49).
14 Consecutive months in which Virginia has lost professional and business service jobs, from June 2013 until today.
15 Consecutive months in which Virginia has lost Federal government jobs from June 2013 until today.
$2,101 Average loss in real household income for NoVA household since 2009.
5.5% Unemployment rate in Virginia (U.S. rate is 5.9%)
The above figures are not intended to scare anyone. Virginia’s economy grew rapidly in the Eighties and Nineties. After the recession of 2001-2002, it rebounded strongly with the “homeland security” economic boost – and reached its apex in mid-2007. At that point, the real estate market started to falter and, by early 2008, the national recession had arrived with full force.
Our economy had stabilized by early 2010 and was growing again, albeit slowly. However, the sequestration of 2013 — exacerbated by the shutdown in October 2013 — have had a major impact on our economy, especially in northern Virginia, which accounts for about half of Virginia’s economy. Call it the “silent recession.”
Nearly every major Federal contractor has been cutting back work, which has a ripple effect all over the state. (Thirteen of our top twenty corporations contract directly with the Federal government). Nobody expects that to change in the near future.
Again, these are not disastrous numbers. Virginia still ranks as one of the wealthiest and best-educated populations in the USA. We still have a competitive advantage of all our neighboring jurisdictions in terms of our business climate and educational facilities. But our economic future is less certain than it was, even two years ago.