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Employment in Hampton Roads

Employment in Hampton Roads


Authored by James Clary, Economist

Current employment statistics for Hampton Roads show a positive trend in payroll growth, increasing for the last seven months year over year. Despite a weak February report, the region has added 7 jobs since September 2011, putting regional payrolls at 742l. This remains well below peak employment (July 2007), but the jobs-deficit has declined to 39 jobs, the lowest it has been since May 2009. The current pace of job creation (920/month) is above the long term average of 513 positions per month.


While it seems like the region has finally begun a sustained recovery, it is important to note the extreme levels of job destruction that occurred during the recession. At the current pace of job creation, the region will not return to pre-recession employment until December 2015, and if employment growth slows to the long term average that level will not be achieved until November 2018. The region at one point had employment 48 positions below the previous peak, a 6.2% decline in civilian employment.
*All of the above numbers have been adjusted for seasonal variations.

Industry Employment

Regionally, the year over year employment growth has been widespread with the exception of construction (-2), leisure and hospitality (-2), and information (-800) industries. The strongest growth between May 2011 and May 2012 occurred in Healthcare (+2) which has grown throughout the current recession, increasing by 9U jobs. Manufacturing (+1) and Retail trade (+2) have grown significantly, which are both excellent signals of a recovery.