There’s Nothing “hokie” About Virginia’s Manufacturing Economy

virginia manufacturing

Virginia has a lot to offer to a variety of manufacturing industries with the GDP of Virginia being $480 billion and manufacturing accounting for 8.95% of the total. Today, more than 4,560 manufacturing firms employ about 5.9% of the state’s workforce.

The Human Development Index of Virginia is 5.47 which indicates living conditions are considerably higher than the national average. Forbes ranked Virginia #6 as a Best State for Business.

Manufacturing Benefits

Six major interstate highways, more than ten commercial airports, 3400 miles of railway and 25+ international shipping lines from the Port of Virginia create easy and fast connections to 200+ countries from the state.

Virginia’s extremely low tax rate of 6% (which has not been amended since 1972) provides enormous benefits to businesses. The state also does not tax accounts receivable, computer software, inventory or other intangibles.

The average cost of electricity per commercial unit use is 6.44 cents, which is nearly 14% lower than the national average.

Virginia also has an enormously skilled and productive workforce available at affordable costs. Additionally, the right-to-work laws allow people to work irrespective of their membership in a labor union.

Manufacturing Industries

The food, beverage, and tobacco manufacturing industries accounted for $1.7 billion towards the state’s economy as recently as 2014. No other manufacturing sectors comes close to this massive revenue generation. Chemicals manufacturing nabs the second-best manufacturing sector in Virginia while rounding out the third spot is transportation equipment manufacturing which contributes $366 million to the state’s economy.

Agriculture Based Manufacturing

32% of Virginia consists of farmlands which are approximately 8.1 million acres. Over 44,000 farms produce a massive range of crops for exports as well as internal use. Namely, Virginia produces a lot of tomatoes, soy, tobacco, peanuts, hay, apples, potatoes, grapes, and cottonseed. Tobacco is one of the most important cash crops for the state.

The state of Virginia has a direct economic output of $25.9 billion from food & beverage manufacturing. This sector provides job opportunities to 11% of the state’s population, i.e. more than 35000 people. The average annual earnings of a manufacturing employee was estimated to be $70,882 in 2015. Since 2006, $1.9 billion has been invested by various food manufacturing companies in the state of Virginia, opening doors to 7000 more new jobs and setting new highs for revenue generation.

Beverage manufacturing takes the lead role in this industry with 219 firms. Tortilla and bread manufacturing ranks second with 174 companies. Food & beverage manufacturing consists of many large manufacturers like Pepsi Co., Hershey, McKee Foods, Kraft/Heinz and Lipton (Unilever).

Virginia’s manufacturing exports have consistently shown increases since 2009. The exports of manufactured goods contributed $13.94 billion towards Virginia’s economy in 2016. With a robust manufacturing economy fueled by growing exports of goods, it’s no wonder we included Virginia in our list of U.S Manufacturing States.

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