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.”

Historical perspective
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.
Bail Bonds Chesterfield VA

Virginia raises a toast to George Washington’s whiskey


George Washington is recognized as the father of our country, but with a bill signed into law by Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Washington also will be recognized under another title – distiller of Virginia’s official liquor.

SB 1261, sponsored by Sen. Adam Ebbin of Alexandria, adds a “state spirit” to the list of the commonwealth’s official emblems and designations and crowns George Washington’s rye whiskey with the title.

The bill, which McAuliffe signed last week, highlights George Washington’s contributions to the culture of Virginia as “a native son of Virginia born on February 22, 1732, in Pope’s Creek”; “the first American president, commander of the Continental Army, and president of the Constitutional Convention”; and “a model statesman ... universally acknowledged as the father of our nation.” > Read more.

McAuliffe vetoes 6 more bills; GOP calls him ‘disengaged’


Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Monday vetoed six bills, including three Republicans said would help prevent voter fraud but the Democratic governor said would create barriers to voting.

McAuliffe has now vetoed 37 bills from the General Assembly’s 2017 session – and 108 during his four-year term as governor, surpassing any of his predecessors.

Republican legislative leaders say McAuliffe has broken his promise to be bipartisan, calling his office “the most disengaged administration we have ever worked with.” > Read more.

HSWCD to give away tree seedlings Thursday and Friday


Henricopolis Soil and Water Conservation District will hold its annual tree seedling giveaway March 30 at Dorey Park Shelter 1 from 2:30 to 6 p.m., and March 31 at Hermitage High School from 8:30 a.m. to noon.

Studies show that mature trees increase property value, decrease summertime cooling costs by providing shade, slow erosion and reduce flooding. They also provide homes for birds, food for countless creatures, and playgrounds for children. > Read more.

Dog rescued, no one injured in Northside townhouse fire


MAR. 27, 11 A.M. – No one was injured by a townhouse fire that occurred early Monday morning in the 200 block of Knightsmanor Court, near the intersection of Azalea Avenue and Richmond-Henrico Turnpike.

The first Henrico Fire officials were on scene in less than four minutes and found heavy smoke and flames coming from the two-story townhouse. Firefighters from the first-arriving fire engine and ladder truck made their way to the townhome involved in fire and searched for victims through high heat and reduced visibility. > Read more.

Walk, ceremony to observe Crime Victims’ Rights Week

In observance of National Crime Victims' Rights Week (April 2-8), and to honor victims of crime in Henrico County and raise awareness about crime victims' rights and issues, Henrico County Victim/Witness will hold a commemorative ceremony and informative walk April 5. > Read more.
Community

Villa’s Flagler Housing wins national NAEH award


St. Joseph's Villa’s Flagler Housing & Homeless Services was one of three entities to earn the National Alliance to End Homelessness' Champion of Change Award. The awards were presented Nov. 17 during a ceremony at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

NAEH annually recognizes proven programs and significant achievements in ending child and family homelessness.

Flagler completed its transition from an on-campus shelter to the community-based model of rapid rehousing in 2013, and it was one of the nation's first rapid re-housing service providers to be certified by NAEH. > Read more.

RIR’s Christmas tree lighting rescheduled for Dec. 12


Richmond International Raceway's 13th annual Community Christmas tree lighting has been rescheduled from Dec. 6 to Monday, Dec. 12, at 6:30 p.m., due to inclement weather expected on the original date.

Entertainment Dec. 12 will be provided by the Laburnum Elementary School choir and the Henrico High School Mighty Marching Warriors band. Tree decorations crafted by students from Laburnum Elementary School and L. Douglas Wilder Middle School will be on display. Hot chocolate and cookies will be supplied by the Henrico High School football boosters. > Read more.
Entertainment

Metro Diner to open second Henrico location


Metro Diner, a comfort food concept, will open its second Henrico location next month. The company is accepting job applications for its Libbie Place location at 5626 West Broad Street. The diner concept, known for its fried chicken and waffles, meatloaf, and shrimp and grits, will bring 100 new jobs to the region as it plans to open its doors in April.

The 3,500-square-foot diner located in the Libbie Place Shopping Center will seat more than 100 and serve classic comfort food staples with a twist, such as fried chicken and waffles topped with strawberry butter and a stuffed challah bread French toast with strawberry and blueberry compote. > Read more.

 

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The Richmond Spring Carnival will take place Mar. 30 to Apr. 9 at 6807 Midlothian Tnpk. This family-friendly event features favorite fair food, games, and rides for all ages, from fun kiddie rides to state-of-the-art thrill rides, all along a colorful midway. Admission is free; ride cost varies. Unlimited ride wristbands are $25 Monday-Thursday and $30 Friday-Sunday. Ride tickets are also available onsite for $1.50 each, $25 for 20 tickets, or $50 for 50 tickets plus one free ride. Hours are 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 12 p.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For details, including coupon savings on rides and food, visit http://www.dreamlandamusements.com or call 866-666-3247. Full text

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