Virginia’s unemployment rate fell to its lowest level in three years in January, signaling that a nascent economic recovery in the commonwealth could be a harbinger of things to come.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped from 6.1 percent in December to 5.8 percent in January — news that allows Gov. Bob McDonnell to pivot back to bread-and-butter items after a 2012 legislative session that was overrun with talk of social issues.
The state’s unemployment rate, announced by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is the lowest since Mr. McDonnell took office in January 2010.
The decline in unemployment figures continued a downward trend since peaking at 7.3 percent in June 2010, with slight upward ticks in June and July of last year. The national unemployment rate was unchanged in January, at 8.3 percent.
Maryland’s unemployment rate also fell slightly but the real indicator in economic effectiveness is found in the business outlook of each state. For Maryland, businesses are leaving faster than rats on a sinking ship. For Virginia, you might as well hang up an “open for business” sign on the border:
Virginia won a high-stakes regional battle in 2010 over Maryland and the District to lure defense giant Northrop Grumman’s headquarters to the state from California, and Frederick, Md.-based Bechtel Corp. announced in November it was relocating its corporate headquarters to Fairfax, bringing with it 625 jobs and an $18 million investment.
Silver Spring-based technology firm Acentia announced in January that it would invest $3.1 million in moving its headquarters to Fairfax, bringing with it 60 jobs. Mr. McDonnell in November announced he was appointing Todd Stottlemyer, Acentia’s CEO, to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) board of directors.
Maryland also suffered somewhat of an embarrassment last year when Montgomery County considered a resolution urging Congress to spend less on defense programs, which caught the eye of Bethesda-based defense contractor Lockheed Martin. Virginia officials contacted the company to gauge its interest in moving, and the council withdrew the resolution.
Whenever anyone tries to argue that “progressive” policies actually work when put into practice, please ask them to prove it. In Maryland it just doesn’t hold water.