ANNUAL MANUAL- Government & Economy: Economy

The University of Virginia remains the major employer in the Charlottesville area.


Manufacturing, agriculture, and textiles once flourished in the area, and the beauty of the natural environment as well as our rich history created a thriving tourism industry. In addition, Mr. Jefferson's university is home to prestigious law, business, and medical schools, not to mention a top-rated hospital. As piles of retirement, investment, and tourism magazines attest, Charlottesville / Albemarle today is one of the hottest places to live in the country.


University of Virginia: 11,962

University of Virginia Health System: 6,136

Albemarle County: 3,135 

Martha Jefferson Hospital: 1,600

City of Charlottesville: 1,593

State Farm Insurance: 1,400

National Ground Intelligence Center (US Department of Defense): 1,100

Sperry Marine (Northrop Grumman): 783

GE/Fanuc: 650*

U.S. Postal Service: 600*

Region Ten Community Services: 559 (includes P/Ts)

Wal-Mart/Sam's Club: 500

Atlantic Coast Athletic Club: 435 (peak season)

Farmington Country Club: 430 (peak season)

Crutchfield Corporation: 428

Boar's Head Inn: 425 (peak season)

Kroger: 369*

SNL Financial: 369 (includes P/Ts)

Piedmont Virginia Community College: 335 (includes P/Ts)

PRA International: 300*

Westminster-Canterbury of the Blue Ridge: 255*(includes P/Ts)

Musictoday: 200

Hyosung America (formerly Uniroyal Tire): 152

Management Services: 142 

--source: approximate numbers of local employees, June 2007 Hook telephone survey. *2005-2006

–Special Answers: GE/Fanuc declined to provide a number of employees this year for "security reasons," and both Walmart and Sam's Club declined to give anything more specific than "more than 250" for each location.

City of Charlottesville Employment Information at a Glance

                                     Dec       Jan       Feb      Mar       Apr      May

                                     2006     2007     2007    2007     2007     2007     

Civilian Labor Force    103.6   102.7    103.8   104.8    104.5     104.6

Employment                 101.4   100       101.2   102.2    102        102.3  

Unemployent                2.2       2.7        2.6       2.6        2.4         2.3

Unemployment Rate     2.1       2.6        2.5       2.4        2.3         2.2

–source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics

No jumbo layoffs recently

The big busts seem to be a thing of the past (at least for now). Phew. But who can forget Technicolor heading south of the border back in 2002, taking 750 local jobs with it? And how 'bout Value America's sudden demise in the winter of '99-'00? That was some ride in a handbasket for the 500 employees who found themselves out of work. Fortunately, the last few years have been kinder, with the exception of State Farm Insurance (the area's biggest private for-profit employer), which moved 151 jobs out of state in 2003 but then announced it would be hiring several hundred more.


Size: 10.3 square miles

2006 Population Estimate: 40,315

Density: 4,505 people per square mile


Size: 726 square miles

2006 Population Estimate: 92,035

Density: 110 people per square mile

Growth Since 2000

Fluvanna: 20%

Greene: 13.9%

Louisa: 17.9%

Nelson: 4.7

Virginia: 7.4%

Albemarle: 13.9%

Charlottesville: -10.5%

–Source: 2006 U.S. Census Estimates. Yep, that Charlottesville number is negative; from the much-disputed U.S. Census Bureau, who stiffed the city of 5,000 people in their original 2000 count.

Bedroom-athon vexes Greene

What do the above figures mean? For starters, they mean that the outlying counties are bearing the brunt of the growth. That bums them out because while Albemarle and Charlottesville get gobs of student housing complexes and shopping centers (read: tax revenue), neighboring counties get gobs of students to educate in their public schools (read: tax expenditures). Fact: In 2003, Greene County raised its real estate tax from 74 cents to 79 cents per $100 of value. However, the effect of the Charlottesville exodus may be leveling out, as the current Greene real estate tax rate has dropped back to 72 cents per $100.


Albemarle has farmettes and horse farms galore, but for a rural county, we're fairly small potatoes in the Old MacDonald world of real agriculture. According to a recent agriculture census, Albemarle ranks 26th among Virginia's counties with $21.45 million in annual revenue from farm sales. Nearby Augusta, by contrast, ranks #2 with $138.7 million in annual sales. Albemarle didn't even chart for cotton, peanuts, soybeans, tobacco, and barley, but here are a few measurements:

Hay: 22,400 acres

Apples: 10.5 million pounds

Corn: 22,100 tons, harvested from 1,700 acres

Cattle: 22,000 head (down 8,000 from four years ago)

Sheep: 1,400

–from U.S. Department of Agriculture 2006 estimates

Make mine local wine

The above statistics fail to include the wine industry, which is booming and growing– even if the numbers are not officially measured yet. Two bigwigs to join the biz lately are Patricia Kluge and Dave Matthews. But the lady most oft associated with the local wine trade is Felicia Rogan.

–> See our wine section in Food Finder for more.

Welfare for the rich?

Farmette owners are notorious for taking advantage of something called "Land Use Taxation," which means that a mogul with an 8,900-square-foot palace can pay just $976 in taxes on his 50 acres– about as much as the owner of a one-acre lot in Forest Lakes pays. Defenders of the program point out that the discount fosters agriculture– or at least open spaces.

–> See our real estate section for more.

The Virginia Lottery

Economists call this a "voluntary tax." School administrators call it a godsend. It was created by voters in 1987, many of whom wrongly assumed the proceeds were going directly to schools. That misperception was corrected in 2000 when over 80 percent of voters in a state constitutional referendum voted to make it official to send the proceeds to public education. Fiscal 2004 was a record year, with sales over $1.25 billion and profits of $408.1 million. 

Director: Sheila Hill-Christian 


Much to the consternation of local environmentalists, Virginia was recently the #2 trash-importing state with 5.4 million tons of out-of-state refuse arriving not so long ago. Think that's bad? The former Buckingham County Landfill (aka Love's Container Service Landfill), is an EPA Superfund site that was capped in 1998. Albemarle's landfill, now dubbed the "Materials Utilization Center," became a small-scale transfer-only point in 2001. Closest massive transfer point belongs to Browning Ferris Industries (BFI) at Zion Crossroads in Fluvanna County.


Charlottesville/Albemarle: 2.4%

Virginia: 3.0%

U.S.: 4.6%

–source: May 2006 figures from The Virginia Employment Commission 804-786-1485

–>>For local taxes, see our Government section

Biz groups

Charlottesville Albemarle County Convention and Visitors Bureau: Operates two visitor centers: one downtown and one near Monticello. 977-1783; 877-386-1102

Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce: You know what they do. 295-3141

American Marketing Association: The Central Virginia chapter holds seminars for professional marketers. Dave Dolak president, 979-2678

Thomas Jefferson Partnership for Economic Development: This is the bring-biz-here group that Albemarle County hasn't joined. Advocates of joining say Albemarle needs a seat at the table with the other major jurisdictions (Charlottesville, Fluvanna, etc.) to get quality businesses. Critics of joining ask why Albemarle should pony up the $12,500 annual dues to get businesses to come here when businesses seem to be flocking here anyway– without any extra encouragement. Director: Robert S. DeMauri, 979-5610

Free Enterprise Forum: Formerly known as the Charlottesville Area Legislative Action Coalition, these power-brokers advocate for bidniz. 817-2380

SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives): These retired biz execs volunteer their time to help you start your business. 295-6712

–>>See also our Real Estate section

AAA ratings

Both Charlottesville City and Albemarle County have AAA bond ratings, the highest possible. Charlottesville supposedly holds the record for the longest-running AAA bond rating for a city with a population under 50,000. Meanwhile, Albemarle says, "Oh, yeah? Well ours is the lowest population county in the nation with such a designation." Then, on July 1, 2005, UVA announced that it is one of only three public universities to score a AAA rating from all three bond agencies. Bottom line: our real estate values rock, and our governments don't seem to be doing too bad themselves.

Go CHO- Our burgeoning airport

Four carriers serve the Charlottesville Albemarle Airport (CHO): United Express, US Airways Express, and Delta/Com Air, and Northwest. That means service to Atlanta, Cincinnati, Detroit, New York, Washington, Charlotte and Philadelphia.

Location: north of town off (you guessed it) Airport Road. 973-8342

Airport factoid #1:

Although boardings dipped in 2006, it continues a steep upward trend for CHO, an increase of 17 percent from 2001 to the present.

2001: 155,000 boardings

2002: 172,000 boardings

2003: 163,000 boardings

2004: 187,500 boardings

2005: 196,242 boardings

2006: 185,182 boardings

–source: CHO

Airport factoid #2: Aircraft operations: 247/day average

45%  transient general aviation

30%  commercial

21%  local general aviation

4%  military


Private hangar

If you're a high-roller, you'll be pleased to know that Piedmont-Hawthorne Aviation celebrated the opening of its third hangar in May 2005. Good place to stow your Gulfstream.


1 comment

Regarding TJPED, the Albemarle County Board has voted affirmatively for the last two years to be a member of TJPED. Mike Harvey of Knoxville TN replaced Bob DeMauri in January, 2007. Outside "the bring-biz-here" label, Mr Harvey has developed a strategic plan which includes researching important questions such as the extent of underemployment as well as other needs of our workforce and our existing businesses.

Regarding other business resources, you left out a very important partner organization, which also receives support from the County - the Central Virginia Small Business Development Center. Currently headed by Nora Gillespie this is one of our most important resources for helping local entrepreneurs. Knowledge is power, I'd encourage the HOOK staff to meet Nora and Mike and learn about their initiatives!