Roanoke County’s strong average wages and healthy talent base place it in a good position for future growth, according to a recent nationwide ranking.
The list, published by Pittsburgh-based consulting firm Fourth Economy, highlights “counties that understand the balance of factors it takes to support and attract talent, support business growth, and create the environment for a vibrant place.”
Roanoke County ranked No. 9 among mid-sized communities with populations between 50,000 and 149,999).
The study measured dimensions of five factors — Investment, talent, sustainability, place and diversity — which Fourth Economy says, “create a foundation for sustained success and resilience.”
In addition to wages and talent, Roanoke County’s proximity to Interstate 81 and short commute times were recognized as assets.
The study also mentioned the efforts the county has made at placemaking, including support for outdoor recreation, such as greenways and blueways.
Outdoor recreation and health care were recognized as important economic pillars, which encourage “a diverse group of people to the area, who in turn put down roots and start businesses.”
The index uses data from sources such as the Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, CDC, HUD and others. The full dataset contains 19 distinct metrics, which are weighted based on the level of influence they have on investment decisions.
Roanoke County is among four Virginia counties that were recognized. Arlington County and Chesapeake County are ranked No. 1 and 2, respectively among large-sized communities. Rockingham County is ranked No. 3 among mid-sized communities.
The full mid-sized list:
Christian County, Kentucky
Riley County, Kansas
Rockingham County, Virginia
Curry County, New Mexico
Liberty County, Georgia
Eagle County, Colorado
Vernon Parish, Louisiana
Story County, Iowa
Roanoke County, Virginia
Cascade County, Montana