Local report says more people working now than before the pandemic

by | Jan 28, 2023 | News

From the Fredericksburg Regional Alliance:

The Fredericksburg Regional Alliance at the University of Mary Washington, the lead regional economic development organization serving the City of Fredericksburg and the counties of Caroline, King George, Spotsylvania, and Stafford, announces employment in the Fredericksburg Region has exceeded pre-Covid employment according to the most recent information available from the Virginia Employment Commission.

By the end of the second quarter of 2022, 138,396 people were working in the Fredericksburg Region, compared to 134,839 during the first quarter of 2020. This is a net gain of 3,557 employed in our region since the pandemic. However, the latest unemployment figures (November 2022) show the Fredericksburg Region’s unemployment figures (3.1%) to lag slightly behind Virginia as a whole (2.8%).

The Fredericksburg Regional Alliance asked University of Mary Washington Business Professor Dr. Lance Gentry to explain the apparent discrepancy.
“The first set of numbers from the VEC [Virginia Employment Commission] includes people who live outside the region and commute here, but does not include an estimated eighty-three thousand people who lived inside the region and worked outside of it before the pandemic. The unemployment percentages are based on people who live in the region regardless of where they work. In other words, our region is employing more people now than we did before Covid-inspired actions restricted large parts of our economy. However, while most of our residents who work outside of our region have
resumed full-time employment, employment outside our region is still below pre-pandemic numbers. Our local unemployment figures largely reflect our former commuters who are currently unemployed. Hopefully the outlying regions will catch up to the Fredericksburg region soon, and then the unemployment numbers will go down.”

According to FRA President Curry Roberts, “We are fortunate to have a highly educated and motivated workforce – it is a great environment for businesses. The temporary weakness in employment outside the region reconfirms the opportunity for local organizations to hire great people who already live here.”
Through recruitment, collaboration, and advocacy, the Fredericksburg Regional Alliance creates the environment to foster regional job growth.

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