Roanoke: Lowest Unemployment Since November 2008

HomesNew unemployment figures confirm the recovery is strengthening in Roanoke, which just experienced its lowest level of unemployment since November 2008 and the lowest December figures since 2007. 
Unemployment figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show there were 1,591 fewer unemployed in the Roanoke metro area in December 2013 when compared to December 2012. A separate employer survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that 1,600 jobs were added from December 2012 to December 2013, an increase of roughly 1 percent. 

Last year appears to have been a good year for Roanoke’s economy. Data on economic growth revealed Roanoke outpaced 75 percent of metros in gross metro product growth in 2012. Regional employers have responded by adding jobs to meet growing demand. Consumers have responded as well: 2013 home sales were at their highest level since 2007 in terms of number sold. The average price of homes sold in 2013 was up 5.5 percent over 2012 and at the highest level since 2010.

Employment and Unemployment

  Employment Unemployment Rate
December 2007 164,400 3.4%
December 2008 162,100 5.0%
December 2009 155,700 7.8%
December 2010 156,200 7.1%
December 2011 158,000 6.3%
December 2012 160,200 5.8%
December 2013 161,800 4.9%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Employment Statistics and Local Area Unemployment Statistics, 2014.

Housing Sales

  Number Sold Average Price
2007 4,964 $213,459
2008 3,962 $197,889
2009 3,707 $188,855
2010 3,269 $195,310
2011 3,432 $176,197
2012 3,666 $180,302
2013 4,307 $190,217

Source: Roanoke Valley Association of Realtors, 2014.

Roanoke Region Lowers Cost of Living

The cost of living was actually lower in the Roanoke Region in 2013 compared to 2012 in figures issued by the Council for Community and Economic Research.  The 2013 annual Cost of Living Index (COLI) shows that Roanoke has overall costs 8.9 percent lower than the national average and lower than more than 74 percent of metro regions across the nation.  The 2013 index is 91.1 compared to 91.4 in 2012.

The region’s cost of living is lower than many southern competing metro areas including Asheville, NC, Greenville, SC, Charlotte, NC, and Chattanooga TN.  The competitive advantages are mainly in lower housing and food costs. Transportation costs are also considerably lower than the national average.  

Use the Roanoke Region’s cost of living calculator to see how far your dollar will go in the Roanoke Region.

 cost of living index

Roanoke Has Best Auto Insurance Rates in Virginia


A study showing that Roanoke’s auto insurance rates are the lowest in Virginia was just released by  Combined with a cost of living that is 8 percent below the national average and a cost of doing business that is 15 percent below the national average individuals and businesses stand to save on their bottom lines by moving to Roanoke.

From Chesapeake Bay and the Hampton Roads on its eastern coast to the Shenandoah Valley, the Blue Ridge Mountains, and the Heart of Appalachia on its westernmost reaches, Virginia measures more than 42,700 square miles in size. Crisscrossing the Old Dominion are 58,000 miles of interstate highways, local connector, and county roads, as well as some 17,000 miles of urban streets and local roads. Driving here is a both a way of life and a means of transportation, as the state’s 5.7 million licensed drivers know. analyzed sample car insurance premiums in the state to give consumers an idea of the best auto insurance rates in Virginia. We studied car insurance rates by company, city, and profile, and found the overall average to be $2,737 for a standard liability protection. While this was the mean blended premium, we found that rates could vary quite widely. In fact, for the same driver profile, we saw the difference between the minimum and maximum car insurance costs to be as much as 7x. We’ve compiled tables below to rank cities and insurers in the state by premiums to guide Virginia residents in their search for the best car insurance rates.
The areas sampled in the study represent a blend of the state capital, large cities, and smaller rural areas. In general, across cities, there was not much variation in the cost of insurance across the 25 underwriters and three driver profiles in the study. Roanoke, with a population of 97,000 was the cheapest place to insure a car at $2,364 a year. Alexandria, the most expensive city in the sample, was 23% more expensive.
  Single Female, 20 Single Male, 20 Married Adult, 40 Average
Alexandria $3,106 $4,152 $1,492 $2,917
Richmond $2,947 $3,920 $1,429 $2,765
Virginia Beach $2,801 $3,714 $1,358 $2,624
Norfolk $3,060 $4,064 $1,493 $2,872
Roanoke $2,514 $3,353 $1,226 $2,364
Average $2,909 $4,077 $1,531 $2,879

See for more.  

Partnership Assists in August Announcements

Two new companies – Ardagh Group and Canline Systems – are moving to the Roanoke Region.

Ardagh Group, a Luxembourg-based global leader in metal and glass packaging for the food and beverage industry, will locate a state-of-the-art metal can manufacturing facility in the 525,000 square foot former Hanover Direct distribution center on Hollins Road.

The company will create 96 new jobs and invest $93.5 million in real estate and equipment. It is the largest single manufacturing investment in Roanoke County history.

Earlier this year Ardagh Group signed a long term supply agreement with a major customer, ConAgra, requiring the company to add capacity in the eastern United States. It selected Roanoke County over locations in Kentucky, North Carolina, Maryland, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee.

Canline Systems, an international supplier of conveyor systems for the packaging industry, will open its first U.S. facility in Roanoke County, creating 25 new jobs over the next three years. The company is expanding to the U.S. to be closer to customers including Ardagh.

Netherlands-based Canline Systems designs and manufactures automated product conveyor systems that use magnetic and vacuum technologies in production lines.

The company will design, manufacture and assemble the systems at its 10,500 square foot facility at 6525 Commonwealth Drive in Southwest Roanoke County. The company will also serve other customers throughout the United States from this facility.

“In one month, we welcomed foreign direct investment from two companies,” said Beth Doughty, executive director of the Roanoke Regional Partnership.  “That kind of presence strengthens the economy and reputation of the Roanoke Region.”

The Roanoke Regional Partnership and Roanoke County Office of Economic Development worked with the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, Virginia Department of Business Assistance, Appalachian Power, Norfolk Southern, Poe & Cronk Real Estate Group, and Roanoke Gas Company on the Ardagh project.  The Partnership, Roanoke County, and Waldvogel Commercial Properties worked together on the Canline Project.