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Region’s economy shows slow but steady recovery

December 29, 2015

Bedford County sees modest uptick

At a recent economic summit for Lynchburg region business leaders and economic developers, academic economists from Old Dominion University reported a slackened pace for the Lynchburg Metropolitan Statistical Area’s (MSA) recovering economy. However, statistics on the area’s housing and tourism industries and information from the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) paint a less gloomy picture of the local economy.

According to Labor Market Information from the VEC, Bedford County has steadily decreased its unemployment rate from 5.5% in the second quarter of 2012 to 4.5% in the second quarter of 2015. James Koch, a professor from Old Dominion University’s Strome School of Business that presented at the economic summit held at Liberty University, stated that for every person looking for work there is an advertised job in the area. The problem for the Lynchburg MSA has been matching the unemployed skill sets with the advertised opportunities, which is a hurdle the region as a whole continues to address.

In addition to the decrease in unemployment, Bedford County has also seen an uptick in start-up businesses. Around the second quarter of 2014, VEC reported 30 new start-ups in Bedford County. In the second quarter of 2015, 35 new start-ups were reported.

In September, 2015, NerdWallet reported that Forest has a high number of businesses per 100 people at 11.1%. More than 45% of those businesses have paid employees, the 5th highest rate in the survey. (NerdWallet survey)

Tourism revenues have also increased significantly in the Lynchburg region, reaching levels much higher than before the Great Recession. Compared to the other metro regions in Virginia, the Lynchburg regions tourism showed the second most growth in the Commonwealth. It also saw the revenue-per-room rate increase by more than 30% from 2007 to 2015.

For more information, read the News & Advance article here.