Job Creation Strengthening in Roanoke Region

jobs Feb17

The Roanoke Region of Virginia continues to see strong job creation activity in early 2017. The Roanoke metro saw employment growth of 2,800 workers from February 2016 to February 2017 and total employment is now at the highest level of any February on record according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Employment increased by 1.76 percent from February 2016 to February 2017 in the Roanoke MSA, which surpasses the national rate of growth over the same period (1.66 percent).

Employment gains were mainly in education, health services, and professional and business services.

The region is poised for continued growth heading into the rest of 2017. More than 1,400 jobs were announced in 2016 from projects including Deschutes Brewery, Eldor Corporation, Virginia Community College System, Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, and Ballast Point Brewing, among others.

Canatal Steel USA Announces Jobs and Investment in Botetourt County

canatal steel roanoke

CLOVERDALE, Va. (December 14, 2016) – Canatal Steel USA, Inc. will expand its Botetourt County facility to meet increased demand for manufactured structural steel for construction.  The company will invest $1.5 million in new equipment and create 38 jobs at its only U.S. facility.

“The Roanoke Valley is strategically located for our growing market and there is good quality labor for fabrication and assembly of structural steel,” said Canatal Industries President Ralph Poulin. “Also, transport costs are greatly reduced for our projects in DC, South Carolina and North Carolina, which will make Canatal more competitive in obtaining contracts.”

Canatal Steel USA is a subsidiary of Canatal Industries in Quebec, Canada. The Roanoke Regional Partnership recruited Canatal to Botetourt County in 2010. The company fabricates and installs structural steel beams for commercial, residential, institutional, and industrial buildings. It currently employs eighty-three in Cloverdale.

The new jobs will primarily be for welders and fitters. The company is interested in working with Botetourt County Public Schools to establish an apprentice program for welding students at the Botetourt Technical Education Center (B-Tech) in Fincastle, which recently earned accreditation from the American Welding Society. Services to support the company’s employee training activities will be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program.

“Workforce training has been and will continue to be key to Canatal’s success in Botetourt County,” said Jack Leffel, chairman of the Botetourt County Board of Supervisors. “The welding program at B-Tech can help Canatal as well as match our graduates with good-paying jobs.”

“The success of our existing businesses is critical to the success of Botetourt County and the region,” said Gary Larrowe, Botetourt County administrator.  “We are committed to connecting our businesses with the resources that will support their long-term success.”

This is the fifth jobs announcement in Botetourt County in 2016 following on the heels of Arkay Packaging (60 jobs), Virginia Community College System (200 jobs), ELDOR Corporation (350), and Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits (178 jobs), for a total of 826 new jobs announced in Botetourt County in 2016.

Employment in Roanoke Region Reaches Highest Levels Since 2007

There’s good news in the Roanoke Region job market. Employment is up; unemployment is down.

Private sector employment is at the highest point since 2007 in the Roanoke market. The Roanoke metro market has seen 1,900 jobs added since this point last year. The trend line is strong and positive.

The region has seen the highest levels of growth in professional and business services (everything from legal, accounting, design, architecture/engineering, information technology, scientific research and development, advertising, company management, and administrative support industries) and in education/health services, which together added 1,500 jobs. Manufacturing, wholesale trade, and transportation and utilities also contributed to overall employment growth.

private sector employment roanoke 2016
This growth in employment has resulted in a declining rate of unemployment. The metro region has the lowest rate of unemployment since 2007. The Roanoke metro unemployment rate was 3.9 in June up from the April low of 3.3 but consistent with the seasonal increase of unemployment in the second quarter. If trends hold, Roanoke is on track to finish the year with the lowest rate of unemployment since 2006.
roanoke unemployment 2016

The labor force has grown considerably since the onset of the recession, and the Roanoke market has not seen the same national trend of large numbers of individuals leaving the labor force out of sheer discouragement.

Overall, participation is slightly lower in Roanoke than nation-wide but Roanoke hasn’t seen the same mass loss of civilian labor force participants (folks dropping out of the labor force) that the U.S. saw and still feels the effect of. Participation is up in Roanoke among every age cohort except those aged 20 to 24. Interesting is the growth in participation among 65 above. There has been a huge increase in participation among older working cohorts in Roanoke that hasn’t happened at the same level nationally. Participation grew in Roanoke from 2009 to 2014 (most current data available at this level).

Civilian Labor Force Participation, 2009-2014
  Roanoke 2009 Roanoke 2014 U.S. 2009 U.S. 2014
Age 16 and over (total) 62.0% 62.2% 65.3% 63.3%
16 to 19 44.3% 48.4% 40.1% 37.6%
20 to 24 84.4% 77.3% 75.0% 74.1%
25 to 44 82.5% 83.7% 83.3% 82.0%
45 to 54 78.7% 78.9% 81.3% 79.9%
55 to 64 65.1% 65.4% 64.6% 64.2%
65 to 74 22.8% 25.3% 24.8% 25.3%
75 and older 2.5% 10.4% 5.6% 6.3%
Total Labor Force Participants 150,657 159,134 157,374,422 160,521,803
Percent Change 2009-2014   5.6%   2.0%


Deschutes Brewery Chooses Roanoke for East Coast Facility

deschutes location roanoke

Deschutes Brewery, the fifth largest craft brewer in the United States, announced March 22 that it will build an East Coast brewery in the City of Roanoke. The company will invest $85 million on a 49-acre site in the Roanoke Centre for Industry & Technology, where it will employ 108.

DeschutesThe company conducted a two-year search of several states and cities before deciding on Roanoke. The Roanoke Regional Partnership began talking to Deschutes in 2012 as part of a campaign targeting the craft beer industry. The Partnership coordinated eight visits by the company and its consultant and connected them with dozens of organizations and individuals throughout the region.

“You can tell by the over-the-top reaction from the people who live here, that we all believe Deschutes Brewery will make a huge difference in this community,” said Beth Doughty of the Roanoke Regional Partnership. “The cultural fit is strong and the synergy between Deschutes and Roanoke will bring incredible energy to what we’re doing here. We know this company shares and appreciates our community values particularly around outdoor recreation and livability.”

Michael LaLonde, president of Deschutes Brewery, said, “After visiting several amazing communities over the past two years, we are very excited to be heading to Roanoke. We love the region and everyone we’ve had the opportunity to meet and work with during this process has been incredible. We have absolutely been blown away with how the community rallied around bringing us here and has given us such a warm welcome. #Deschutes2Rke we’re on our way and proud to be able to now call Roanoke our second home.”

“Roanoke is honored to be chosen as Deschutes Brewery’s East Coast location,” said Roanoke City Manager Chris Morrill. “It is a company with a strong culture of community engagement, recognized for its craftsmanship and will be a perfect fit for Roanoke’s vibrant outdoor lifestyle. We are thrilled to welcome Deschutes to Virginia’s Blue Ridge as we continue to build a more diverse, resilient economy.”

Deschutes is a craft brewery founded in 1988 as a brew pub in Bend, Ore. The brewery is known for brewing beers including Black Butte Porter and Mirror Pond Pale Ale. In 2008, the brewery opened a second pub in Portland’s Pearl District. Deschutes Brewery now ships beer to 28 states, the District of Columbia, and around the world from its main brewing facility located on the banks of the Deschutes River.

Economic impact modeling by the Roanoke Regional Partnership indicates this project will have an overall annual economic impact of $209 million and spur creation of more than 305 secondary jobs. The impact will extend across the region.

Learn more.