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 and 25,000 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 (2020)331,319
Labor Area Population (2020)699,392
Total Labor Supply
(11/21)
314,023
Total Unemployed Persons (11/21)9,775
Unemployment Rate (11/21)3.2%
Underemployment Estimate (2021)24%
Annual High School Graduates (19-20)6,700
Annual Two-Year Graduates (20-21)2,099
Annual Four-Year Degree and Higher Graduates (20-21)36,704
Absenteeism2.8%
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Census, State Council for Higher Education, VA Dept. of Education, Chmura Economics and Analytics, VEDP (EMSI) Underemployment estimates.

Alleghany Highlands Submarket

Labor Force 73,282
Unemployed2,151
Unemployment Rate3.2%
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. Chmura Economics and Analytics-November 2021

Franklin County Submarket

Labor Force263,159
Unemployed9,094
Unemployment Rate3.5%
The Franklin County labor force area consists of the cities of Martinsville, Roanoke, and Salem; the counties of Bedford, Botetourt, Franklin, Henry, Patrick, and Roanoke, and Rockingham County, North Carolina. Chmura Economics and Analytics-November 2021

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 higher89.4%
Some college, no degree20.1%
Associate's or bachelor's degree27.9%
Graduate or professional degree10.3%
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 5 year-2019 Estimates.

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 Title20182028 (projected)Change (projected)
Administrative and Support10,27910,343.6%
Ambulatory Health Care Services8,0539,65119.8%
Architectural, Engineering 1,3031,249-4.1%
Business Support Services1,4481,5386.2%
Computer Systems Design 2,7203,69635.9%
Construction9,0549,4944.9%
Construction of Buildings1,7272,01216.5%
Health and Education Services37,56340,3737.5%
Financial Activities7,9748,1562.3%
Food Prep, and Drinking Places12,53013,2625.8%
Information15581541-1.1%
Insurance Carriers and Related3,5053,6865.2%
Leisure and Hospitality15,72816,4795.0%
Management, Scientific, and Technical48154413.1%
Manufacturing17,07316,479-3.5%
Medical and Diagnostic Labs51372841.9%
Nursing and Residential Care Facilities5,2625,49212.9%
Professional and Business Services23,36324,3144.1%
Professional, Scientific, and Technical7,8388,94114.1%
Trade, Transportation, and Utilties34,01833,056-2.8
Truck Transportation
2,5752,85410.8
Warehousing and Storage154616516.8
Total172,475176,1832.1%
Source: VEC, Occupational Projections, LWIA III 2018-2028