Jobs and Job Growth Rate

The red area on the graph below illustrates job growth in Loudoun County from January 2007 to July 2011 (as measured on the left axis).  Over the period, 16,682 new jobs were added to the local economy for an average of 303 per month.  While that is impressive in a down economy, the growth rate did slow dramatically.  The blue line indicates month-over-year percentage growth since January 2007.  For the first half of 2007, annual job growth hovered around 5 percent.  For the next year, annual growth ranged from 3.9 to 4.9 percent.  In the last quarter of 2008, growth steadily declined to about 3.2 percent.

Then the bottom fell out.

In January 2009, annual job growth plummetted to .7 percent.  It was not until August of 2010 that annual job growth in Loudoun exceeded 1 percent.  With a couple of exceptions, the growth rate has ranged from 1 to 2 percent since.  The straight blue line indicates the long-term trend in job growth.

Given the downward trend, what is the good news?

Annual growth stayed positive over the entire period under very trying circumstances.

The same cannot be said for neighboring Fairfax County.  As shown below, annual job growth was actually negative from November 2008 to December 2009 in Fairfax.  The downturn started earlier in Prince William County.  Like Loudoun, annual job growth there never fell below 0 percent but it hovered at less than 1 percent from November 2008 to December 2010.

It is interesting to note, in closing, the differences in growth between Loudoun and its neighbors.  Loudoun’s job base was growing much faster than both Fairfax and Prince William counties from 2007 through 2008.  It’s decline in January 2009 was much steeper than in Fairfax while Prince William was actually adding jobs.  Since January 2010, the growth rate in all three counties has been exactly the same, every single month, even though the number of jobs is vastly different between the three.


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