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BUSINESS » REGION BOASTS DIVERSE ECONOMY
Guide To Living overview of Fredericksburg business community


Date published: 7/14/2012

BY BILL FREEHLING

Fredericksburg and surrounding counties have a diverse economy that 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. The FBI and Department of Defense are key drivers of the economy.

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 and Prince William counties, Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren in King George County and Fort A.P. Hill in Caroline County.

Terremark Worldwide 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, including about 3,000 new jobs that came 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--have a local presence. The FBI is a big employer in the region, both at Quantico and outside.

The University of Mary Washington recently opened a graduate school in the Dahlgren area, which has seen a good deal of commercial growth of late.

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 hospitals--Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center and Stafford Hospital--have opened in the past few years to join Mary Washington Hospital. Medical office buildings and free-standing medical clinics have been built around the hospitals.


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Here are some of the largest employers in the Fredericksburg region, not including local governments or public school systems, according to the Virginia Employment Commission.

Geico Direct

Mary Washington Healthcare

University of Mary Washington

Walmart

McLane Mid-Atlantic

The Free Lance-Star Publishing Co.

Rappahannock Community Services

URS Corp.

Central Rappahannock Regional Library

U.S. Department of Defense

U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation

Virginia Department of Transportation

Lowe's

BAE Systems

McDonald's

Rappahannock Area YMCA

Wegmans

Booz Allen Hamilton

Giant Food

Hilldrup Moving & Storage

CarMax

ManTech International Corp.

Rappahannock Electric Cooperative

VSE Corp.

U.S. Postal Service

Target

Simmons Bedding Co.