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McNab, Agarwal to Deliver 19th Annual State of the Region Report

Because of strength in the three "pillars" of Hampton Roads' economy, the 2018 State of the Region report asks an important question: Is it morning again in Hampton Roads?

For the past decade, Old Dominion University's influential State of the Region report has chronicled Hampton Roads' struggle to regain its economic footing after the twin blows of the Great Recession and stalled defense spending.

But in this year's 19th State of the Region report, ODU economists suggest that solid growth and even better forecasts for the Port of Virginia, defense and tourism sectors - the so-called pillars - could be an indicator of better days ahead.

"After a decade of stagnant economic growth and watching rival metropolitan areas prosper, perhaps it's time to be more optimistic about our regional economy," said Robert M. McNab, professor of economics and director of the Dragas Center for Economic Analysis and Policy.

In presentations Oct. 2 in Norfolk and Oct. 5 in Newport News, McNab and Vinod Agarwal, professor of economics and director of the University's Economic Forecasting Project, will offer their views about whether the optimism is warranted.

The presentations, held in partnership with LEAD Hampton Roads, will cover topics ranging from Medicaid expansion to multifamily housing to craft brewing. Register online for the lunchtime presentations in Norfolk or Newport News, or contact Alexis Epps at 757-664-2529 or aepps@hrchamber.com for more information.

The 2018 State of the Region report is divided into seven parts:

Is it Morning Again in Hampton Roads?

The regional economy's three pillars have improved and prospects for growth are looking up. Is the future just as bright?

A Complicated Subject: The Impact of Medicaid Expansion on Hampton Roads
Virginia will expand Medicaid, a health insurance program for low-income adults and children, on Jan. 1, 2019. Medicaid expansion will reduce the number of uninsured in Hampton Roads, but future costs remain uncertain.

Craft Brewing in Hampton Roads
The number of craft breweries in Hampton Roads has increased dramatically in recent years. This trend's development is traced, along with its economic impact.

Too Much of a Good Thing? Multifamily Housing in Hampton Roads
Over the past decade, construction of multifamily units has increased in Hampton Roads, leading some to question whether there are too many apartments. Vacancy rates have started to decline and rent increases remain moderate, especially compared to many U.S. cities.

Welcome to Your New Home: International Migration and Hampton Roads
Most new international migrants to Hampton Roads are educated, married and employed. The report examines international migration's impact and looks at how immigrants are contributing to the region's economic growth.

Hampton City Schools: The Next Generation of Learning in Hampton Roads
With unemployment approaching historical lows and the demand for a skilled workforce increasing, Hampton City Schools is involved in an experiment to transform high school education. What is this effort and its potential benefit for our region?

Hampton Roads: In Search of a Social Media Identity
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat. These platforms define the lives of many Americans. The report examines to what degree Hampton Roads has an identity on social media, discussing the potential benefits of a social media brand.

Previous reports are available online and individual copies may be purchased for $25 each.

The State of the Region is a widely respected and impartial analysis of the economic issues facing Hampton Roads. The report aims to stimulate thought and conversation on how to make Hampton Roads a better place to live.

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