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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

Life in Hampton Roads Survey No. 2: Economic Conditions and Employment

In this part of the Life in Hampton Roads survey, respondents were asked to rate the economic conditions and provide their perceptions of employment in Hampton Roads.

Economic Conditions

The percentage of respondents who feel the economy is doing "excellent" remains fairly steady at 6.6% (compared to 7.4% in 2018). On the other hand, the percent rating the economy as poor since 2015 has been on the rise, increasing from 6.8% to 10.9%. There is a relatively even split this year when combining responses for "excellent/good" (49.9%) and "fair/poor" (48.4%).

Perceptions of economic conditions varied significantly across cities. At the highest end, 61.4% of Chesapeake and 55.8% of Virginia Beach residents rated economic conditions in Hampton Roads as excellent or good. Just under half of Suffolk residents (48.3%) and 43.7% of Hampton residents rated economic conditions as excellent or good. Norfolk (42.4%) and Newport News (42.1%) rated economic conditions similarly. Additionally, only 39.4% of Portsmouth residents rated economic conditions as excellent or good, although this percentage is up considerably from 26.1% in 2018.

Respondents were asked if they and their family living with them are better off, worse off or about the same financially than they were a year ago. More than half (54.9%) said they are doing about the same as they were a year ago. Another 34.3% said are better off financially and only 10.3% said they are worse off. Respondents were then asked if they thought that they and their family living with them would be doing better, worse or about the same financially a year from now. Similarly, over half (53.1%) believed that they would be about the same and 39.2% believed would be doing better. Only 4.6% believed they would be doing worse.

When asked if now is a good time, a bad time or neither a good nor bad time to buy a house, slightly less than half of respondents (45.4%) said they felt now was a good time. Less than one in four (24.7%) felt that now was a bad time and 19.7% felt that now was neither a good nor a bad time.

The percent rating economic conditions in Hampton Roads as excellent or good again decreased as it did in 2018. However, about 40% of respondents feel that their financial situation will be better off a year from now.

Perceptions of Employment

The remainder of the data in this report will be presented weighted for age, race, gender, household telephone status and city of residence. The respondents who reported being employed full-time or part-time were asked in what employment industry they work. The most common responses were government, public administration or military (15.3%), followed by hospitality or service (11.8%), health care (11.7%) and manufacturing, mining or construction (11.2%). Another 19.1% identified some other employment industry. Respondents were also asked how satisfied they are with their job. The majority of respondents (90.4%) said they were either very (56.1%) or somewhat satisfied (34.3%).

Additionally, when asked about level of work burnout on a scale of 0-10, with "0" meaning "not feeling burned out at all" and "10" meaning "feeling completely burned out," the average response was 4.8. The most common response was "0" (20.6%) showing that at least one in five residents are feeling no level of work burnout. While that number is low, perceptions of employment opportunities within the respondents' cities were more mixed. Only 12.2% reported that employment opportunities in their city were excellent and 36.8% reported them in as good. Conversely, 33.8% rated employment opportunities in their city as fair and another 12.1% rated them as poor.

The majority of respondents reported that they plan to still live in Hampton Roads in five years (68.2%), and 10.5% did not know if they would still live here in five years.

The Life in Hampton Roads Data report and press releases will be placed on the Social Science Research Center website as they are released (http://www.odu.edu/al/centers/ssrc). Follow-up questions about the 2019 Life in Hampton Roads survey should be addressed to:

Tancy Vandecar-Burdin, Ph.D.


The Social Science Research Center

Old Dominion University

757-683-3802 (office)


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