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Labor Force

Labor Force Population 

Virginia is a right-to-work state and Roanoke’s rate of private unionization at 5.6 percent is well below the national average (6.7 percent).

  • Roanoke Region Population (2016): 329,951
  • Labor Area Population (2016): 698,246
  • Total Labor Supply: 344,436
  • Unemployment Rate (4/17): 3.8%
  • Underemployment Rate (12/16): 10.1%

Roanoke MSA Educational Attainment 

Testimony to the well-educated workforce is more than half of the region's population over the age 25 has at least some college education. More than a third has either an associate's degree or bachelor's degree, or both.

  • Total High School Diploma/GED or higher: 89.0%
  • At least some college: 22.6%
  • Associate's or Bachelor's Degree: 25.9%
  • Graduate/Professional Degree: 9.9%

Labor Draw Area

  • Labor Supply: 344,436
  • Total Unemployed Persons (4/17): 13,112
  • Unemployment Rate (4/17): 3.8%
  • Underemployed Rate (12/16): 10.1%*
  • Annual High School Graduates: 6,900
  • Annual Two-year Degree Graduates: 3,000
  • Annual 4-Year Degree & Higher Graduates: 26,500
  • Absenteeism: 2.8%
Alleghany Highlands Labor Force (4/17)
Labor Force:  73,474
Unemployed: 3,105
Unemployment Rate:  4.2%

The Alleghany Highlands labor force area consists of the cities of Buena Vista, Covington and Lexington; the counties of Alleghany, Bath, Botetourt, Craig and Rockbridge, and the West Virginia counties of Greenbrier, Monroe, and Pocahontas.

Franklin County Labor Force (4/17)
Labor Force:  272,248
Unemployed:  10,820
Unemployment Rate:  4.0%

The Franklin County labor force area consists of the cities of Bedford, Martinsville, Roanoke and Salem; the counties of Bedford, Botetourt, Franklin, Henry, Patrick and Roanoke, and the North Carolina county of Rockingham.

In-Commuting Patterns

The U.S. Census Bureau LEHD Program estimates more than 40,000 people commute to the Roanoke Region each day.  Below are the top origins of commuters to the Roanoke Region.

Commuters to Region by Locality
Locality Commuters
Bedford County 8,639
Montgomery County 4,608
Henry County 2,377
Lynchburg 1,612
Pulaski County 1,531
Campbell County 1,403
Floyd County 1,370
Augusta County 1,191
Pittsylvania County 1,119
All Others 27,994







 

 







*Underemployment rates are estimated by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) each quarter based off data reported by the BLS. Underemployed individuals are not counted by the BLS officially; however, the VEDP determines rates of underemployment based on five classifications: 1. Discouraged Workers; 2. Marginally Attached Workers; 3. Part-time Workers for Economic Reasons; 4. Multiple Job Holders; 5. Underutilized Workers.

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Census LEHD 2014, State Council for Higher Education, VA Dept. of Education. July 2015. Virginia Allies Roanoke Valley Underemployment Statistics.

Occupation Distribution 

Workers are distributed among a diversity of occupations. The Virginia Employment Commission estimates more than 22,000 jobs will be created between 2010 and 2020, which means an increase in skilled job seekers and businesses seeking workers.

Occupation Title

2010

2020

Diff.

Total

163,520

185,868

13.7%

Office, Administrative support

27,893

30,340

8.8%

Sales related

17,825

20,046

12..5%

Food prep and Serving related

13,865

15,950

15.0%

Transportation and Material Moving

12,294

14,225

15.7%

Production

12,215

12,893

5.6%

Healthcare Practioners and Technical

11,629

13,657

17.4%

Construction and Extraction

18,208

9,357

14.0%

Education, Training and Library

8,121

9,058

11.5%

Installation, Maintenance, Repair

7,627

8,749

14.7%

Business and Financial

6,763

7,874

16.4%

Management

6,588

7,027

6.7%

Healthcare Support

5,118

6,391

24.9%

Personal Care and Service

4,852

6,210

28.0%

Building& Grounds Cleaning, Maintenance

4,790

5,450

13.8%

Protective Service Occupations

3,833

4,311

12.5%

Computer and Mathematical

3,176

4,021

26.6%

Community and Social Services

2,962

3,832

29.4%

Arts, Design, Sports, Media

2,205

2,489

12.9%

Architecture and Engineering

1,809

1,978

9.3%

Legal

957

1,124

17.5%

Life, Physical, and Social Science

593

678

14.3%

Farming, Fishing, Forestry

197

208

5.6%

 Source: VEC, Industry and Occupational Projections, 2010-2020.

Extended Labor Market Area

The Roanoke Region labor supply includes the immediate region as well as Bedford City and County, Lexington, Buena Vista, Rockbridge County, Montgomery County, Pulaski County, Floyd County, Martinsville, Patrick County, and Henry County. Read More

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