Is Virginia Getting its Mojo Back?

Good news for Virginia ports: container cargo shipments increased 8.5% in 2016.

The Port of Virginia saw an 8.5% surge in container traffic in 2016, making it the fastest-growing port on the East Coast and second fastest in the country, trailing only Los Angeles, reports the Virginian-Pilot.

Said port Chairman Jon Milliken: “We outstripped other East Coast ports; we outstripped the West Coast ports. We outstripped everybody in terms of growth.”

The Pilot article does not explain the increase, but the growth coincided with major capital expansion programs designed to increase port throughput as well as the long-awaited opening of the Panama Canal expansion, which expedites the movement of deep-draft mega-ships. With the deepest channels of any East Coast port, Hampton Roads enjoys a competitive advantage in serving the big ships.

In other good economic news, as noted in Virginia FREE newsletter distributed this morning….

Swiss food confectioner giant Nestle S.A., has announced the move of its U.S. corporate headquarters from Glendale, California, to Arlington.

Air India has initiated nonstop service between Washington Dulles International Airport and Delhi.

Virginia’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.1%, even as the state’s labor force swelled by 17,000 workers as discouraged workers began re-entering the workforce.

Admittedly, the gains are all anecdotal. But pile together enough anecdotes, and they add up to a real trend.

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7 responses to “Is Virginia Getting its Mojo Back?

  1. Looks like McAuliffe was involved in most of these things…

    ” Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe confirmed on Wednesday that international food and beverage maker Nestlé S.A.’s U.S. division has signed on as an anchor tenant at Monday Properties’ 1812 N. Moore St. in Rosslyn, a major economic development win for the commonwealth at a time when uncertainty reigns over Northern Virginia’s sluggish office market.

    “They are going down to Arlington to a big building that was built before sequestration,” McAuliffe said. “That building had been vacant for four years.”

    Nestle plans to invest almost $40 million to build out its new space.

    Virginia and Arlington offered more than $16 million in incentives to entice the company to relocate from the West Coast, an economic development tool the county and commonwealth have turned to increasingly to help bring down Northern Virginia’s bloated office vacancy rate.”


    “NORFOLK, VA – Governor Terry R. McAuliffe will be at The Port of Virginia on Wednesday, July 20 announcing that the port will be receiving a $350 million investment from the state to expand the cargo capacity at Norfolk International Terminals’ (NIT) South Berth.”

    Air Inida
    “Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced that Air India will launch nonstop service between Indira Gandhi International Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport. The newly announced air route, which will offer three nonstop, roundtrip flights per week, is estimated to bring in an additional 30,000 tourist and business travelers and $30 million in total economic impact annually to the National Capital Region (Virginia,

    Governor McAuliffe proposed a $1.25 million incentive package over a three-year period beginning in FY18 to support Air India and stimulate travel to Virginia through Washington Dulles International Airport.”

    not bad for one of those tax and spend liberals, eh?

    • McAuliffe would spend too much money if he had the chance, but one must give him applause for going after business and jobs. I think he’s worked hard and reasonably successfully on that front.

  2. Larry, perhaps he’s been instrumental, but I’ve never known a governor not to put himself at the middle of things.

    I noted this disconcerting fact from an article on declining higher education enrollment in Virginia: “the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service has released a report showing the state’s population growth has slowed significantly. For the past three years, the report found, more people have moved from Virginia to other states than have moved into the commonwealth.”

    • That decline is pregnant news indeed.

    • Izzo – are you equating population growth with economic growth?

      Surely it would seem odd for any Gov to work to boost population growth …

      what we want and need are more jobs… for the folks who we already have and new economic growth will do that as well as organically increase population growth as new incoming companies like Nestle and Air India will bring some of their own employees also.

      Governors are limited at what they CAN do as policies to increase growth and development have to largely be approved by the GA but note that in each of these cases McAuliffe provided or promoted the provision of incentives which I’m sure he would argue sweetened the pot enough to seal the deal.

      That’s about all you could ask for and expect from a Gov , right? And even then folks like Bacon will argue that such incentives are essentially “bribes” using taxpayer money that he opposes.

      So what should McAuliffe done differently that might have satisfied you better?

  3. Larry,

    The key part of the quote was the second part: “For the past three years, the report found, more people have moved from Virginia to other states than have moved into the commonwealth.” People move for jobs. This is a big change from when Virginia was touted as a top state for business, and reinforces the idea that we need to get our Mojo back.

    As for the governor, my only point is they all do that. It is very difficult to evaluate whether the incentives given are good in the long term. Even the President is now doing this sort of thing with Carrier in Indiana.

    • I’ve seen data over several years indicating that more people moved from Fairfax County than moved in, except for people moving from other nations. Net domestic migration is negative. Now the immigration does bring us a lot of doctors, engineers, software gurus, professors, but according to the County, most are low-wage workers. In a post-industrial society, importing low-skill workers is not a recipe for success. And it tends to depress wages for native and naturalized workers whose skills are more marginal.

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