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Old 08-18-2011, 11:41 AM
998 posts, read 2,316,974 times
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Recent Performance. Lynchburg’s recovery is progressing at a healthy pace. The metro area is leaning heavily on service industries for job growth, but industrial production is climbing and manufacturing employment is stable. Nonfarm payrolls rose at an annual rate of 6% in the first half of 2011, a much faster pace than in the state or nation. Because of a surge in labor force entrants, the unemployment rate is no longer falling, but at 7% it is well below the national average. Some trouble spots remain. The construction industry is still ailing, and public-sector cut-backs are not fully reflected in the employment data. Also, hiring is not very broad-based, and the average workweek has been trending downward since the start of the year.
Construction. The key construction industry will shift from a hindrance to a support toward the end of 2011, helping to solidify the recovery. Industry employment has fallen by nearly a third from its peak, but payrolls should start to pick up as homebuilding revives. After a brief turnaround late last year, housing starts have continued their fall, but appear to be nearing a bottom. House price declines are minimal compared with those of the state and nation, and since there is no overhang of foreclosure properties in LYN, there is little risk of serious depreciation that could deter builders.
Elsewhere, nonresidential construction is showing signs of life, while public construction is looking weaker. State and local governments are faced with big budget shortfalls, and with federal support running out, they have slashed spending on projects, including construction. Construction employment is forecast to expand just more than 6% over the next year, about twice the rise nationally.
Liberty University. Much of the expansion in commercial construction, at least over the near term, will come from growth at Liberty University. Projects totaling $120 million are in the works that will renovate and expand the university’s aging campus. The expansions are intended to help Liberty reach its goal of 20,000 on-campus students by the end of the decade from the current 12,000. Such growth, if achieved, would most likely lift Liberty past Centra Health as the metro’s largest private employer.
Nuclear technology. Despite concerns about atomic power following the disaster in Japan, advances in nuclear technology will be the largest driver of economic growth over the long run. The metro area’s two largest nuclear tenants, Areva and Babcock & Wilcox, employ roughly 4% of the private workforce and continue to grow at a healthy pace. B&W in particular has spurred job growth through the development of its mPower reactor program, hailed as a smaller and cheaper alternative to large-scale reactors. The company has hired 150 workers over the past two years to develop the technology at its new Lynchburg test facility and expects to add as many as 50 by year-end. Eventually, the test facility will transition to a training center for facility operators. The Tennessee Valley Authority has already signed a letter of intent to purchase up to six of the new reactors by 2020.
Lynchburg’s recovery will continue to strengthen in the second half of 2011, and growth is expected to be stronger than in Virginia and the U.S. Although having peaked, the unemployment rate will remain elevated through mid-2013 as increased confidence and job opportunities cause the labor force to rise. Long term, there is significant upside risk in nuclear technology and Liberty University, but declining manufacturing and low graduate retention rates will cause LYN to lag the state and nation in job and income growth
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Old 08-20-2011, 11:14 AM
Location: Roanoke VA
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Lets hope the nuclear technology industry decides to stay in Lynchburg and grows in the region. I think LU will always be a potent force as all of those
Christian fundamentalists have deep pockets which should help Lynchburg.
I am concerned about commercial air service in Lynchburg and the "land locked" regional airport at Roanoke for future growth potential.
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Old 08-20-2011, 09:40 PM
890 posts, read 1,891,212 times
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Thanks for posting, Badger. The report seems to have some conflicting projections- non-farm earning growth outpacing the state and US, growth in construction is projected to double that of the US, as well as projected gains in education and the nuclear industry...but income and job growth will cause Lynchburg to lag behind the state and nation.
This area never seems to make sense for demographers (sic) and economists.
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Old 08-21-2011, 10:49 AM
998 posts, read 2,316,974 times
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Part might be two-tiered wages with nice group of well paid jobs and larger number of low-paid jobs and under-employed people. But sometimes things just don't quite add up when you use different data sources and try to combine them. Most construction is LU related right now.
I hope the airport can keep service. Many smaller cities being hurt and Feds won't be aiding them as much in the future. Might need a regional support tax or something.
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