Roanoke County Recognized for a Strong ‘Fourth Economy’

Roanoke County was ranked among the top mid-size communities in the Fourth Economy Community Index produced by Fourth Economy Consulting. Roanoke County was ranked 9th’ among mid-size communities in the 2017 index ranking.

The Fourth Economy Index highlights counties that understand the balance of factors it takes to retain and attract talent, support business growth, and create the environment for a vibrant place.

Roanoke County was recognized for short commute times, strong average wages, a healthy talent base, a strong health system, outdoor recreation, and for placemaking efforts that make Roanoke County and the region a great place to live and work.

Here’s more from the Fourth Economy report: “Located on the I-81 corridor, this county boasts short commute times to work, strong average wages, and a healthy talent base. However, it’s the efforts in placemaking that Jill Loope, the Director of the Department of Economic Development for Roanoke is most proud; ‘Place is the focus of our forward momentum – it is one of the strategic directions we are moving in county-wide.’ She credits the investment in outdoor recreation, like greenways and blueways, as not only promoting a healthy economy but also improving public health.”

Key data for the Fourth Economy Community Index are collected from sources like the Census, Bureau of Labor Statistics, the CDC, HUD, and others. Metrics that make up the five areas of investment, talent, sustainability, place, and diversity range from traditional economic development concepts (like labor force, wages, and entrepreneurial activity) to ideas with origins in other disciplines (like measures of diversity, toxic releases reported to the EPA, and access to arts and entertainment). The full dataset contains 19 distinct measures, which are weighted based on observations of the data using multivariate analysis, and on the level of influence they have on both internal and external investment decisions.