Henrico County VA
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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.


Community

Garden tails

The threat of bad weather didn’t keep visitors away from Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden July 10 for the facility’s weekly Flowers After 5 event (which pairs music and food with a chance to stroll the garden) and its monthly Fidos After 5 (which allows dog owners to bring their pets with them to enjoy the evening). > Read more.

Western Henrico Rotary helps fund Midwives For Haiti Jeep


Thanks in part to a $10,000 gift from the Western Henrico Rotary Club, another bright pink Jeep modified to travel extremely rough terrain has been delivered to Midwives For Haiti so that more pregnant women in the quake-ravaged country will have access to prenatal care and a greater chance of surviving childbirth.

The funds were raised at the annual casino night held in February, club president Adam Cherry said. The Rotary Club also helped purchase the Virginia-based charity’s first pink jeep three years ago. > Read more.

Agencies combine on new entry point to Chickahominy


Canoeing and kayaking enthusiasts soon will have a new access point to the Chickahominy River. VDOT, the James River Association and Henrico County Parks and Recreation are teaming up to establish a new site in Eastern Henrico.

The James River Association negotiated the deal with VDOT to procure official access to the area located just east of I-295 on North Airport Road in Sandston. The site includes a park-and-ride commuter lot bordering the Chickahominy River and has been an unofficial launch site used by paddlers for years. > Read more.

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Entertainment

Weekend Top 10


Take in a show at several locations this weekend! West End Comedy will provide laughs at HATTheatre; the production of “Pump Boys and Dinettes” will close Sunday; and the youth theatre company CharacterWorks will present “Footloose” at The Steward School. Another show perfect for the kids – “Despicable Me 2” is playing at the Eastern Henrico Recreation Center tonight. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

Is there an Echo in here?

‘Earth to Echo’ aims to become this generation’s ‘ET’
It’s no secret that all found-footage genre movies are the same. Grab a couple of characters, give one of them a camera, and expose them to something supernatural that’s content to lurk just off-screen until the last five minutes. Everything else will just fall into place.

But that formula isn’t particularly family friendly, if only because that thing waiting a few feet to the left of the cast is usually plotting their violent doom.

That’s what sets Earth to Echo apart from the pack. It, too, follows a group of characters armed with a camera and a tendency to encounter unknown life forms. But all those familiar parts have been rearranged just enough to make it suitable for a much younger audience. > Read more.

Weekend Top 10


An eclectic array of events are taking place this weekend throughout the county. In the West End, we have the Richmond Wedding Expo, the Under the Stars Family Film Series and Henrico Theatre Company’s production of “Pump Boys and Dinettes.” In the eastern part of the county, we have a blood drive at the Eastern Henrico Recreation Center, Gallmeyer Farm’s annual Sweet Corn Festival and an origami workshop at Fairfield Library. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

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Virginia Blood Services will hold a blood drive from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Village Shopping Center, Three Chopt Road and Patterson Avenue. All walk-ins are welcome and donors… Full text

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