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Region touts diverse economy
Guide To Living overview of Fredericksburg business community

Date published: 9/11/2010


The Fredericksburg and surrounding regions have a diverse economy that has shielded the area from the worst of the economic recession. The region's unemployment rates have stayed well below national levels.

One of the biggest drivers of the local economy is the federal government, both for jobs in the region and employment opportunities for commuters.

Hundreds of millions of federal dollars are spent in the region annually, thanks in large part to the three military bases--Marine Corps Base Quantico in Stafford County, Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren in King George County and Fort A.P. Hill in Caroline County.

Terremark Worldwide Inc. has a corporate campus in Culpeper County that protects sensitive federal data and is powered in large part by Dominion Virginia Power's North Anna nuclear power plant near the southern border of Spotsylvania County.

Quantico in particular has seen ample growth of late, a trend that is expected to continue with about 3,000 new jobs coming to the base in 2011. That has fueled the growth of government contracting jobs and commercial real estate projects surrounding the base. Some of the nation's largest defense contractors--including Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin--all have a local presence. The FBI is a big employer in the region, both at Quantico and outside.

Many thousands of Fredericksburg-area residents also travel outside the region for federal and private-sector government support jobs in Northern Virginia. The Virginia Railway Express, which is expanding into Spotsylvania, allows an alternative form of travel to the capital along train tracks owned by CSX Corp.

Health care is another major driver of the local economy. Two new hospitals--Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center and Stafford Hospital--have opened in the past couple of years to join Mary Washington Hospital. Medical office buildings and free-standing medical clinics have been built around the hospitals.

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As of the end of 2009, here are the 50 largest employers in the Bay Consortium Workforce Investment Area, which includes all of the Fredericksburg region and Northern Neck as well as the Middle Peninsula and Virginia Eastern Shore.

1. Stafford County Schools

2. Geico, Government Employees Insurance

3. Spotsylvania County School Board

4. U.S. Department of Defense

5. Mary Washington Hospital

6. U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation

7. Walmart

8. Perdue Products

9. Food Lion

10. Tyson Farms

11. County of Stafford

12. Accomack County School Board

13. University of Mary Washington

14. County of Spotsylvania

15. Postal Service

16. Caroline County School Board

17. Shore Memorial Hospital

18. CVS

19. Giant Food

20. King George County Public School Board

21. Lowe's Home Centers Inc.

22. Americare Plus

23. Fredericksburg City Public Schools

24. Riverside Regional Medical Center

25. Target Corp.

26. Stafford Hospital Center

27. City of Fredericksburg

28. McLane Mid-Atlantic

29. VDOT

30. TRW Inc.

31. McDonald's

32. Smurfit Stone Container

33. Medicorp Health System

34. YMCA

35. Wegmans

36. Northampton County Schools

37. Snowden Services Inc.

38. Middle Peninsula Northern Neck Mental Health Center

39. Rappahannock Area Community Services Board

40. King William County Schools

41. Rappahannock Goodwill

42. Kings Choice

43. Haynesville Correctional Institute

44. Rappahannock General Hospital

45. Westmoreland County School Board

46. Fredericksburg Auto Auction

47. Essex County School Board

48. EG&G Inc.

49. The Free Lance-Star Publishing Co. Inc.

50. Wawa

--Source: Virginia Employment Commission