Nearly 40 percent of the Fredericksburg area’s workers commute to jobs outside the region, according to a comprehensive study conducted by the University of Mary Washington. The report called the Fredericksburg Region Commuter Workforce Skills Study was released at the May 11 meeting of the Fredericksburg Regional Alliance, the Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce and the University.
Lance Gentry, associate professor in UMW’s College of Business, presented the findings, which are based on year-long research conducted by UMW Economics Professor Brad Hansen. The study focuses on individuals who live in the Fredericksburg region (the city of Fredericksburg and Caroline, King George, Spotsylvania and Stafford counties) and commute out of the region for employment.
“The data clearly shows that our region has a large pool of well-educated and skilled residents who currently work outside of the Fredericksburg area,” said Gentry.
Other key findings are:
- Nearly 53 percent of the Fredericksburg area commuters spend at least two hours a day driving to and from work.
- Area commuters are more likely to have higher levels of education and military experience than non-commuters.
- Area commuters have higher average incomes than non-commuters at every level of education.
“Quality and availability of labor is still the number one location factor for a company moving or expanding to any area,” said Curry Roberts, president of the Fredericksburg Regional Alliance. “The high skill level of our commuting and non-commuting population now being quantified will be a great boost to our marketing efforts to attract more companies to our region. “
The study used data collected by the U.S. Census bureau through the American Community Survey (ACS). According to the data, the estimated number of area commuters is 61,639, the majority of whom commute to Prince William County, Fairfax County and Washington, D.C.
Survey data confirm that commuters typically earn higher salaries than non-commuters at every level of education. The survey also found that area commuters are more likely to have military experience (active duty or National Guard) than non-commuters (28 percent versus 12 percent), and that commuters with military experience earn more than commuters without military experience.
“This compelling study helps us better understand our current population’s job trends and capabilities so we can create even better local employment opportunities, said Susan Spears, Chamber president and CEO.
UMW President Richard V. Hurley said the research further underscores how the University can partner with regional stakeholders.
Said Hurley: “This is just the kind of important research that benefits the region in understanding economic growth and development.”