May 8, 2012
The State of Working Northern Virginia
Northern Virginia’s dominance as a national and international business center contributes to its reputation as the great economic engine of Virginia. Parts of the region have some of the highest incomes in the nation, and the educational attainment rates of the workforce make it one of the most educated regions in the world. But a closer look at the dynamics of the Northern Virginia economy shows that not all workers and industries are benefitting from this success. While conditions have deteriorated for many workers – cuts in hours, reduced employment opportunities, income losses, and rising prices – even the most well-positioned workers in the region are operating under increased pressures brought on by the Great Recession and its lingering effects. This report focuses on key measures of the economy critical to understanding how the workforce is faring in Northern Virginia. By examining the most recent data available from the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, The State of Working Northern Virginia highlights where Northern Virginians are working and how much they earn, and then places that in the context of what it costs to live in this rapidly expanding metropolitan area.