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Virginia Economic Roundup: Hampton Roads Ties for First Among Large Metro Areas in Layoffs

June 20, 2018

According to a Gallup survey, the Hampton Roads area tied for the highest proportion of workers reporting layoffs among the 50 biggest metropolitan areas in the United States.

Twenty-one percent of respondents in the Hampton Roads and San Diego metropolitan areas indicated that their employer was laying off workers from January 2012 – December 2013. Thirty-seven percent of respondents in Hampton Roads reported that their employer was hiring.

The Houston metropolitan area fared the best in job growth, with 44 percent of respondents reporting their employer was hiring and just 12 percent reporting layoffs. Richmond was ranked 11th in job creation, with 41 percent of respondents indicating their employer was hiring and 15 percent reporting layoffs.

Arlington Near Top of National Rankings in Green Development

With 122 projects certified under the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) initiative, Arlington County ranks first in Virginia and third nationally in development of green buildings.

Arlington houses 30 percent of all LEED-certified square footage in Virginia and the most Energy Star-rated buildings in the commonwealth.

McAuliffe Promises to Fast-Track Hampton Roads Commission Projects

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe promised to move quickly on projects chosen by the newly created Hampton Roads bond-issuing agency.

We are spending some money so we can start opening up the Hampton Roads region,” McAuliffe said as he signed the new agency into law. The commission will have the authority to levy tolls and sell bonds to borrow and raise money, with the goal of using funds slated for Hampton Roads under last year’s sales tax increase for transportation to pay interest and principal on bonds. At the current level of interest rates, the commission could raise a lump sum roughly 25 times as large as the annual revenue from the tax.

Virginia Vineyards Hit Hard by Harsh Winter

The bitter cold from winter and early spring of 2014 has taken a toll on Virginia grapevines, with one expert estimating that the state lost 5 percent of its 2014 grape harvest.

Tony Wolf, professor of viticulture and director of the Alson H. Smith Jr. Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Frederick County, gave that estimate but also said that Virginia vineyards fared better than those in states farther north. Jim Bogaty, owner of Veramar Vineyard in Clarke County, estimated that he lost 10 percent of the bud growth on his vines.

The winter damage follows the frost in May 2013 that severely damaged blooming vines.

Click here for a story from the January/February 2014 issue of Disclosures about CPAs working for Virginia vineries.

McAuliffe ‘Not Going to Tolerate Losses at Port’

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said he will not put up with continuing losses at the Virginia Port Authority (VPA) and plans to “make some very substantial changes to the board.”

McAuliffe asked Virginia Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne to look into renegotiating the VPA’s 20-year lease of APM Terminals’ Portsmouth facility.

“We are not going to tolerate losses at the port,” McAuliffe said. He said that the port lost $120 million over the last five years, higher than the $85.8 million the port reported losing.

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