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.

roanoke labor market
The Roanoke Region labor supply includes the immediate region as well as Lexington, Buena Vista, Bedford County, 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 Supply312,633
Total Unemployed Persons (8/21)11,551
Unemployment Rate (9/21)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 73,096
Unemployed2,482
Unemployment Rate3.4%
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-August 2021

Franklin County Submarket

Labor Force263,841
Unemployed10,445
Unemployment Rate4.0%
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 August 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 that employment will increase through 2028 in the region, 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