Housing and tech in Charlottesville

Four point four Billion Dollars. That is the total economic impact that the high tech industry had on the Charlottesville/Central Virginia region – not too shabby for a Metropolitan Statistical Area with a population of about 175k.

Chemical Weapons Research Analyst, Journeyman All-Source Analyst “(working as a member of a government-contractor team supporting the Counter-IED Targeting Program (CITP) … Desired Skills: Experience performing all-source analysis and fusion to provide actionable intelligence to warfighters” … not your average job descriptions, and not occupations generally associated with living in Charlottesville. However, they are right here.

People are often surprised/shocked to hear about how many tech and government jobs there are here – SAIC, Booz Allen Hamilton, CSC, General Dynamics, Grumman/Sperry, (Northrup Grumman’s also in Waynesboro) – I’m sure I’m missing some, but you get the idea. In answer to a question I often get from clients – there are a lot of government jobs in the Charlottesville region – and they are scattered about all over. How do you find these jobs? Network.

Combine the government contractors, government jobs – both military and civilian at the current National Grounds Intelligence Center and soon-to-be Rivanna Station Military Base, with Charlottesville’s growing high-tech presence:

“Charlottesville is not the biggest player in the high-technology sector in this region,” Kinsey said. “The big interest is starting and encouraging smaller businesses, not necessarily looking for a big, high-tech industry in Charlottesville.”

The study, compiled by the Center for Public Policy at Virginia Commonwealth University with data from 2006, showed the Charlottesville region ranks fifth among 10 Metropolitan Statistical Areas for technology employment with 11,690 full-time and part-time jobs and fourth in number of high-technology firms with 635 companies reported. The average wage was estimated at $65,400.

and you have a ever-strenghtening foundation for our economy. Not least, the housing sector should be positively affected, as we are bringing in more and more employees from other markets, adding to demand for housing. However – one of the downsides (there are others) is this – a lot of those seeking to relocate to the area need to temper their expectations.


The impact of these jobs is felt throughout our economy and makes its way to housing:

The total economic impact from market transactions is comprised of three phases: direct, indirect, and induced economic effects.  The “direct effects” are expenditures made by High-Technology firms for their operations.  When supplier firms (providing goods and services to High-Technology companies) receive orders, they must purchase additional inventory or new products for inputs.  These subsequent purchases are referred to as the “indirect effects” and contribute to the area’s overall economic impact, both in terms of jobs and additional output for the region.  The final component of economic impact results from the “induced effects” associated with changes in household expenditures.  As companies increase their outputs because of business activity linked to the presence of the High-Technology Industry, they will hire new employees or pay existing employees to work longer hours.  When household incomes increase, employees will spend more money in the area, generating an even greater economic benefit for the region. (from page 13 of the report)

The full report is at the Charlottesville Business Innovation Council’s site (pdf). hint for jobseekers – check out the appendix.

But – the challenge exists – is it possible to hire for these jobs locally? Read this comment for a sound reasoning for a simple “no.

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