2019 Quarterly Workforce Report 1: Southwest Virginia WDA I
Welcome to the 2019 quarter one workforce report. The Virginia Tech Office of Economic Development produced this document for the Southwest Virginia Workforce Development Board. This workforce report details unemployment trends encompassing Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Tazewell, and Wise counties and the city of Norton from 2008 through 2018. The unemployment rate counts only those who have actively looked for work in the past month but are not working. Lower unemployment often correlates with other community health indicators such as higher standards of living, greater mental and physical health, higher educational attainment, and lower crime rates. Yet, as our country and regions begin to reach such low levels of unemployment that media and policy makers begin talking about the country reaching “full employment,” how useful does the unemployment rate become in assessing the overall health of a region? The goal of this report is to gain a more accurate understanding of unemployment in the region and explore populations that may not even be counted in the unemployment number because they left or never entered the labor force. These populations could serve as untapped human capital, ready for employment or better employment in the region’s industries if given the appropriate training, tools, and connections with amenable employers.