Average weekly wages rise in Henrico
The average weekly wage in Henrico County rose 6.3 percent from the first quarter of 2010 to the first quarter of 2011 – the steepest increase among Virginia’s 12 largest counties.
Among Virginia localities with at least 75,000 workers, Virginia Beach City ranked second in the rate of wage growth at 5.8 percent, followed by Richmond City at 4.9 percent.
According to a report issued by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average weekly wage across the nation rose 5.2 percent from early 2010 to the first quarter of 2011. Peoria, Ill., led the nation in average weekly wage growth with an increase of 18.9 percent from the first quarter of 2010. Santa Clara, Calif., was second with a gain of 12.4 percent, followed by the counties of Macomb, Mich. (12.0 percent), Clayton, Ga. (11.9 percent), and Wayne, Mich. (11.3 percent).
Henrico’s rate of wage increase placed it 51st nationwide.
Wages exceed national average
Henrico also was one of six large counties in Virginia with average weekly wages in the top fifth of all large counties nationwide. Arlington, Alexandria City, Fairfax, Loudoun, Richmond City and Henrico were the only large counties in Virginia to record average wages above the national average of $935.
Arlington County had the highest average weekly wage among the 12 largest counties in the Commonwealth at $1,549, followed by Fairfax County ($1,479) and Alexandria City ($1,226).
Henrico’s average weekly wage of $1,027 topped that of neighboring Chesterfield County ($830, with a rate of increase of 4.1 percent) by almost $200.
John Vithoulkas, Henrico’s director of finance, noted that the wage gains were positive in almost all categories, although the finance/insurance and company/enterprise management industries – traditionally higher-paying fields – were among the top performers.
The county also ranked 139 among the nation’s 323 largest counties in employment growth with an increase of 1.2 percent over the same quarter last year – just under the national employment rate gain of 1.3 percent.
Across the nation, the largest percentage gain of the year in employment was recorded in Elkhart County, Ind. at 6.2 percent.
Among the 12 largest counties in Virginia, employment was highest in Fairfax County (572,900), the only county in the Commonwealth with employment above 200,000. Employment growth in Prince William (4.3) and Loudoun (4.2) counties also ranked among the top ten in the nation.
Henrico reported an employment total of 171,500, while Chesterfield reported a workforce of 113,000, a gain of 0.8 percent.
As with the wage gains, Vithoulkas greeted the employment figures with enthusiasm.
“We’re very pleased with these numbers,” said Vithoulkas. “But the important thing to keep in mind is how we’re doing over time. Is there general improvement in the county?”
While county staff are happy to see positives in the quarter-to-quarter numbers, Vithoulkas emphasized, “What we’re really looking for is sustainable job growth . . . That sustainability is really an indication of the overall economy that we’re reliant on.”
The key thing to keep in mind, he added, is that Henrico has consistently enjoyed an above-average economy, whether viewed in the short term or over time.
“One of the themes you will see in any economic crisis we’ve seen,” Vithoulkas pointed out, “is that Henrico County has outperformed the state, and the state has outperformed the nation.”
An examination of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports from 2007 – what might be considered the last pre-recession or relatively “normal” economic year – confirm Vithoulkas’ statements about the county’s performance over time.
In the 2007 report, wage gains in Henrico County led the list of those in Virginia’s 12 largest localities, in addition to ranking Henrico 16th in the nation.
In the first quarter of that year, the average weekly wage in Henrico increased by 7.7 percent when compared with the same quarter in 2006.
Employees in Henrico earned an average of $1,008 per week during the first three months of 2007; only nine state localities ranked higher, and only one of those (Fairfax County) had a higher employment population than Henrico’s 178,530. The national average weekly wage during the first quarter of 2007 was $885.
Since then, two of the Fortune 1000 companies that were headquartered in Henrico – Circuit City and LandAmerica Financial – have dissolved, and MeadWestvaco has moved to a new permanent location in downtown Richmond. That leaves Brinks Co., Genworth Financial, Altria and Markel Corporation as the remaining Fortune 1000 companies
with Henrico headquarters.
The Varina Ruritan Club hosted the winners of its 2014 Environmental Essay contest at its monthly meeting March 11 in Varina.
The contest, in its eighth year, was for the first time open to students in grades 3-5 at Varina Elementary School. (It previously was open to Sandston Elementary School students.)
The meeting included the winners, parents of the winners, Varina Elementary principal Mark Tyler and several teachers who were in charge of the contest at the school. > Read more.
For the fifth consecutive year, St. Christopher’s and Benedictine will play a varsity baseball game at Glen Allen's RF&P Park as part of a fundraising effort for the River City Buddy Ball program.
The game will take place Saturday, April 12, at 7 p.m., and the teams hope to raise $3,000 through donations, raffles and other efforts. Admission to the game is free, but fans who attend are asked to donate funds for the Glen Allen Youth Athletic Association's Buddy Ball program, which enables disabled children and teens to play baseball. > Read more.
The Henrico Division of Recreation and Parks will dedicate the Highland Springs Little League Majors Field in memory and honor of Rev. Robert “Bob” L. Spears, Jr., on April 12 with a ceremony at the field at 8 a.m.
Spears served the league as a coach and volunteer for 30 years and was praised as a pioneer for equality. His “Finish strong” motto embodied ethical perseverance on the field and in life. > Read more.
Do the Bunny Hop over to Meadow Farm on Saturday for an introduction to all the farm animals there! An introduction to “Global Sounds” – featuring Japanese, Indonesian, West African, Indian, and Brazilian music and dance performances – can be found at the University of Richmond. The University of Richmond will also host the annual Spider spring game, as well as the inaugural Spiders Easter Egg Hunt. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.
Find out how your favorite dining establishments fared during their most recent inspections by the Virginia Department of Health. > Read more.
‘Muppets Most Wanted’ worthy of its franchise
Do Muppets sleep? It’s hard to say.
They don’t really eat (or breathe, as far as anyone can tell). And only occasionally do they have visible, functioning legs.
As far as anyone knows, sleeping might be off the table. And that makes it very hard to accuse the Muppets of sleepwalking through their latest feature, Muppets Most Wanted – even if that’s exactly what’s going on.
Jim Henson’s beloved creations were back in a big way after 2011’s The Muppets, with fame and fortune and even an Oscar, a first for the group (“Rainbow Connection” was nominated, yet somehow failed to collect at the ’79 ceremony). > Read more.
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