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Old Dominion Economists Add State of the Commonwealth Report to Annual State of the Region Report

The 16th annual State of the Region report, presented in three sessions October 6-8 by James V. Koch, Old Dominion University Board of Visitors Professor of Economics and President Emeritus; Vinod Agarwal, professor of economics; and Timothy Komarek, assistant professor of economics, will be followed this year by a separate report assessing the state of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Supported by the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, the first-ever State of the Commonwealth Report will be delivered by Koch and Larry "Chip" Filer, associate professor of economics, in December sessions in Richmond, Roanoke, Northern Virginia and Lynchburg.

The two annual reports - along with the Strome College of Business's Economic Forecasting Project, which provides the financial analysis - comprise the major elements of Old Dominion's new Center for Economic Analysis and Policy that undertakes a wide range of economic, demographic, transportation and defense-oriented studies.

"This new Center brings together the diverse economic expertise of the Strome College into one organization, which provides focused, data-driven information about the state of the local, Virginia and national economy," said Dean Jeff Tanner.

The Center is supported by Old Dominion University, a set of generous private donors and organizations including the Virginia Chamber of Commerce and the Virginia Department of Commerce and Trade.

Koch, who will act as director of the center, said economic forecasting has been one of the most visible public services provided by the University for more than 20 years. "It made sense to assemble this expertise under one umbrella," he said.

The State of the Region breakfasts will be Tuesday Oct. 6 at the Norfolk Marriott Waterside; Wednesday Oct. 7 at the Westin Town Center in Virginia Beach; and Thursday, Oct. 8 at the Hampton Roads Convention Center. More than 1,000 regional leaders are expected to attend the breakfast programs, which are sponsored each year by Lead Hampton Roads. The Virginia Beach event is sponsored by Virginia Beach Vision.

The events run from 7:45-9:30 a.m. Tickets are $45, and $35 for Lead Hampton Roads members. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Lead Hampton Roads.

For tickets or more information about the event in Virginia Beach, contact Martha McClees at martha@virginiabeachvision.com or 757-499-7003.

This year's State of the Region report is comprised of seven chapters:

  • Running in Place? Our "So-So" Regional Economy: 2015 has been another "Goldilocks" year - not too hot, not too cold - economically speaking. We grew faster than the rest of Virginia, but slower than the U.S. It appears that 2016 will reprise this scenario.
  • Defense Expenditures in Hampton Roads: Digging Deeper: While defense expenditures are decelerating, in FY 2015, Newport News (dominated by Huntington Ingalls) received $1.13 billion in new defense contract awards, while Virginia Beach received $838 million, Norfolk $774 million and Hampton $166 million. Atlantic Diving, headquartered in Virginia Beach, was our second-largest contractor with $206 million.
  • The Port of Virginia: A Primer: The economic importance of the Port of Virginia has increased as it is handling record cargo volumes and now is recording positive net operating income. The Port is challenged to find ways to deal effectively with congestion and logistical problems in and around the Port as well as to secure the funds necessary to modernize its infrastructure and equipment.
  • The Third Economic Sector: Nonprofit Organizations in Hampton Roads and the United Way: A total of 2,009 nonprofit organizations in Hampton Roads filed tax returns with the IRS in 2012. This does not include most churches. Collectively, these organizations are big business: their revenues approached $9.6 billion.
  • Early Childhood Care and Education: Should They Be Our No. 1 Economic Development Strategy? Investments in early childhood care and preschool programs generate higher rates of return on public dollars than investments in conventional economic development programs that emphasize either attracting new firms, or public-private partnerships to build arenas and hotels.
  • Is Hampton Roads Facing a Shortage of Nurses? Our region does not face a debilitating shortage of nurses. With a few tweaks to our policies, we will have a sufficient number of nurses to meet our needs in the years to come.
  • The Economics of Casino Gambling in Hampton Roads: The experience of other cities tells us that casino gambling would not have a large economic effect upon Hampton Roads. Further, casino gambling brings with it a variety of other costs that must be considered. The net effect may be close to zero.

December's State of the Commonwealth was created to provide Virginians with rigorous, up-to-date, non-partisan analysis of Virginia's current economic circumstances and future possibilities.

The eight chapters of the inaugural State of the Commonwealth are: (1) The Virginia Economy Deals with Economic Headwinds; (2) Defense Expenditures in Virginia; (3) Northern Virginia: Standing at a Fork in the Road?; (4) If You Can Make It There, You Can Make It Even Better in Virginia; (5) Fly Away With Me: A Look at Virginia's Airports; (6) Keeping Pace: Small Businesses in Virginia; (7) Is Now the Time to Consolidate and Merge Public Services in Virginia? Some Evidence; and (8) Domestic Migration: What Moves Us?

For more information see the State of the Region and State of the Commonwealth websites, or contact James V. Koch at jkoch@odu.edu.

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