Henrico County VA

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.
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Community

MADD to host candlelight vigil Dec. 2 at UR

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) will host a candlelight vigil of remembrance and hope Tuesday, Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. at the University of Richmond, outside the Cannon Chapel. The public is invited to attend and join MADD to honor victims of impaired driving crashes, while helping to remind the community to be safe during the holidays. > Read more.

Tournament supports adoption efforts

Among participants at the Seventh Annual Coordinators2Inc Golf Tournament and awards luncheon Oct. 3 were (from left) Rebecca Ricardo, C2 Inc executive director; Kevin Derr, member of the winning foursome; Sharon Richardson, C2 Inc founder; and Frank Ridgway and Jon King, members of the winning foursome.

Held at The Crossings Golf Club, the tournament will benefit placement of children from Virginia's foster care system into permanent families through Coordinators2. > Read more.

A.C. Moore to host winter craft day for kids

Event will help kick of Marine Corps' 'Toys for Tots' campaign
All 140 A.C. Moore locations will serve as drop-off centers this year for the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, and all toys collected will stay in the local communities served by the stores in which they are donated.

On Saturday, Nov. 15, the Willow Lawn location will kick off the month-long program by hosting a "Make & Take" craft event for kids. Children ages six and older will be able to make a craft and take it home with them. Representatives from the Marines will be in-store to teach customers about the Toys for Tots program. A.C. Moore team members will be on site to help with the crafts. > Read more.

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Entertainment

Weekend Top 10


The Dominion GardenFest of Lights Grand Illumination takes place tonight at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden! This year’s theme is “A Legacy in Lights: 120 Years from Bicycle Club to Botanical Garden,” which celebrates the Garden’s history. You can also celebrate Thanksgiving again – tomorrow at Henricus Historical Park. More great events – Lavender Fields Herb Farm and Wilton House Museum will both host their holiday open house events this weekend. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

A hero is born

Disney’s ‘Big Hero 6,’ lovable robot Baymax delight
It may be time for Olaf to step down as our nation’s reigning cartoon character. Big Hero 6, the latest animated feature from Disney, contains a challenger to the throne: Baymax (Scott Adsit), another lovably chubby white wonder, who will bring joy to children’s hearts and invade every home in America inside a six-foot pile of Disney merchandise.

Big Hero 6 (based ever so slightly on a Marvel comic of the same name) is the story of Baymax – and also his closest companion Hiro Hamada (Ryan Potter). And then also their four friends, all of whom join together to form the titular superhero team.

At first, though, it’s only Hiro, a young boy and an engineering prodigy, who’d rather spend his time in underground robot fight clubs than do something productive with his gifts. > Read more.

Authentically Italian

Bella’s feels – and tastes – like Italy should
Short Pump is known for its share of chain restaurants and strip malls, but diners looking for something more distinct can certainly find it without heading downtown or to nearby Charlottesville.

In fact, local husband-and-wife restaurateurs Valeria Bisenti and Doug Muir brought a taste of Charlottesville (and Italy) to Short Pump when they took a chance and opened Bella’s second location in the same shopping strip as Wal-Mart and Peter Chang China Cafe. (Bella’s original location is on Main Street in downtown Charlottesville.)

For a local Italian restaurant, Bella’s is as “Mom and Pop” as its gets. Valeria is Mom, and Doug is Pop. Since its opening about six months ago, diners have been eating rich comfort foods and drinking Italian wines. > Read more.

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The Children's Museum of Richmond will host a Kindergarten Readiness Forum on Tuesday, Dec. 2 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at CMoR Short Pump, 2200 Old Brick Rd. in… Full text

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