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Report: Loudoun County driving the region’s economy

With the Northern Virginia economy “stuck in neutral,” Loudoun County is driving economic growth for the region, according to data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Per capita income in Loudoun grew at nearly twice the rate of jurisdictions in Virginia and the U.S., according to the BEA, and more than five times the rate of Fairfax County and the City of Alexandria -- two jurisdictions that have been benchmarks for the region’s growth.

Fairfax County had the lowest rate of growth, only 2 percent.  

"The region has stopped growing," Stephen Fuller, director of the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University, told the Mt. Vernon Gazette, which initially reported the findings. "High wage jobs and most new jobs are paying below the average for all jobs."

But not in Loudoun, Northern Virginia’s only bright spot.  The Bureau of Economic Analysis statistics show per capita personal income increased from $52,000 in 2008 to $60,000 in 2012. The county’s Economic Development Agency currently puts annual household income at about $120,000 for the county, consistent with BEA’s trend analysis.

Loudoun is also growing at the fastest rate in Virginia. The county's population has doubled in the last 15 years, and so has the county's demographic profile.

"One of the things that is really changing in Loudoun is having more younger people going out there, and families without children going out there," Hamilton Lombard, research specialist for the Demographics Research Group at the University of Virginia Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service told The Gazette.  "And that's just kind of a transformation from being a bedroom community into actually having lots of job centers there and having lots of younger people going there before they start families."

Growth in Loudoun has been fueled by mixed-use developments that include residences, shopping, offices and entertainment,  a trend that is slowly making Loudoun more friendly for millenials.

County planners and elected officials are currently confronting growth and land-use issues associated with the Silver Line, which extends to Dulles International Airport and Loudoun County by late 2018.


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