FREDERICKSBURG – The Mary Ball Washington Regional Council recently approved an update to the GO Virginia Region 6 Growth and Diversification Plan. This plan provides a roadmap for utilizing GO Virginia funding for projects across the Region 6 service area, which includes the George Washington, Northern Neck, and Middle Peninsula sub-regions.
The purpose of GO Virginia is to “create more and higher-paying jobs through incentivized collaboration, primarily from out-of-state revenue, which diversifies and strengthens regional economies.” In 2017, the Mary Ball Washington Regional Council adopted a Growth and Diversification Plan that outlined a series of investment strategies to accelerate the creation of higher-paying jobs in priority industry clusters. At their meeting on August 12th, the Council reviewed and adopted the 2019 Growth and Diversification Plan, which was prepared by Community Futures and Mangum Economics.
The past two years have shown a variety of economic trends and drivers throughout Region 6:
- The private sector accounts for a smaller proportion of total employment than Virginia – 76% in Region 6 vs. 82% in Virginia.
- Unemployment continued to decline to 3 percent in May 2019.
- Employment growth in Region 6 slowed to the statewide trend, and the Fredericksburg area grew at a faster pace than other parts of the region.
- Average weekly wages continue to be below the statewide average – $806 in Region 6 vs. $1,113 in Virginia, but wage growth matches the statewide average.
- The Professional, Scientific & Technical Services (+739 jobs); Other Services (+474 jobs); and Health Care and Social Assistance (+438 jobs) sectors lead year-over-year employment growth.
- 60% of the region’s workers commute to employment outside the region.
The quantitative analysis demonstrated the priority clusters identified in the 2017 plan are still appropriate for Region 6, though the Aquaculture/Seafood/Commercial Fishing cluster was expanded to include Marine Industries. The 2019 priority industry clusters are:
- Aquaculture/Seafood/Commercial Fishing/Marine Industries
- Forestry/Wood Products and Paper
- Information/Data Centers
- Professional, Scientific and Technical Services
The Region 6 Council sees this update as an opportunity to identify new opportunities within the region to curate new and innovate ideas on job growth throughout Region 6. To learn more about GO Virginia, to read the full report, and to learn more about continued efforts within Region 6, please visit, www.govirginia6.org.
Written By: Jennifer Morgan