The Roanoke Region’s workforce represents a range of talent combined with top-quality training. Our labor draw extends far beyond the boundaries of the region, attracting workers from areas within a 60-mile radius. That means the total labor supply consists of more than 300,000 people. And, with a high concentration of colleges and universities and training programs, new highly-skilled people are joining the workforce all the time. It’s no wonder why businesses from all over the world choose the Roanoke Region for business.

General Information

  • Low unionization and practically non-existent work disruptions due to labor disputes; Virginia is a right-to-work state.
  • Consistently low absenteeism.
  • With more than 6,000 high school, 2,400 community college, and 15,000 4-year college graduates annually, highly educated and skilled workers are constantly entering the labor force.
  • As a leader in high tech research, innovation, and development, Virginia Tech is educating students in new technology and information fields.
  • Nationally recognized workforce training and retraining programs and training facilities available.

Labor Supply

Companies in the Roanoke Region draw from over 300,000 workers within a 60-mile radius. Workers in the area are educated, skilled, and productive. And with 25 colleges and more than 100,000 students pursuing degrees in the region, new members of the workforce bring the skills and knowledge needed for industries in the 21st century.

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

Labor Force

Roanoke Region Population (2016)329,951
Labor Area Population (2016)698,246
Total Labor Supply343,852
Total Unemployed Persons (9/17)13,437
Unemployment Rate (9/17)3.9%
Underemployment Rate10.1%
Annual High School Graduates6,900
Annual Two-Year Graduates3,000
Annual Four-Year Degree and Higher Graduates26,500
Absenteeism2.8%
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Census, State Council for Higher Education, VA Dept. of Education, Virginia Allies Roanoke Valley Underemployment Statistics. Underemployment rates are estimated by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) each quarter based on data reported by the BLS. Underemployed individuals are not counted by the BLS officially; 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.

Alleghany Highlands Submarket

Labor Force 74,729
Unemployed2,936
Unemployment Rate3.93%
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. (September 2017)

Franklin County Submarket

Labor Force275,263
Unemployed10,901
Unemployment Rate3.96%
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 Rockingham County, North Carolina. (September 2017)

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.

High School Diploma/GED or higher89.0%
Some college22.6%
Associate's or bachelor's degree25.9%
Graduate or professional degree9.9%

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 Title20142024Diff.
Total165,466177,5757.32%
Architecture and Engineering2,1542.2193.02%
Arts, Design, Sports, Media1,9642,0233.00%
Building & Grounds Cleaning, Maintenance5,0275,3706.82%
Business and Financial7,5818,2188.40%
Community and Social Services2,9843,45715.85%
Computer and Mathematical3,1383,52312.27%
Construction and Extraction7,7938,5259.39%
Education, Training, and Library8,1839,17712.15%
Farming, Fishing, Forestry302297-1.66%
Food Prep, and Serving Related13,13613,8365.33%
Health Care Support5,4916,82624.31%
Healthcare Practitioners and Technical12,80514,50913,31%
Installation, Maintenance, Repair7,4088,0328.42%
Legal1,0221,1128.81%
Life, Physical, and Social Science9431,06012.41%
Management6,1226,5537.04%
Office, Administrative support26,58527,6904.16%
Personal Care and Service5,4486,16413.14%
Production12,18611,795-3.21%
Protective Service Occupations4,8975,45811.46%
Sales Related18,25119,0594.43%
Transportation and Material Moving12,04612,6725.20%
Source: VEC, Industry and Occupational Projections, 2014-2024.