Virginia clinches title as No. 1 state for business

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Virginia has held its No. 1 spot on’s list of the best state for business.

For the past three years, Virginia has topped the list, although this year Utah came closer because of slowed growth projections in Virginia. Last year, Virginia ranked 8th in the growth prospects category, but fell to 26th this year.

The Web site ranks states in six categories, including business costs, labor supply, regulatory environment, current economic climate, growth prospects and quality of life.

“Virginia remains an excellent location for new or existing businesses,” the Web site states. “It has the best regulatory environment by our count, thanks to the second-best incentive programs in the country — as well as the fifth best tort atmosphere. Other high points include energy costs 30 percent below the national average and an educated labor force fueled by its proximity to Washington, D.C., and top colleges like the University of Virginia and William and Mary.”

In other business news…

-Unemployment was at a four-year high in June, primarily because of high school students looking for work and the slowing economy. The state’s unemployment rate hit 4.2 percent. (The Roanoke Times)

-A rainy season has been good for the peach crop in the Shenandoah Valley. (The Winchester Star

Norfolk is creating a Foreclosure Intervention Network to help residents avoid foreclosure. The group will put on a seminar in September that will allow homeowners to see potential help created be the federal housing bill. (The Virginian-Pilot


Dominion Resources reported a $298 million profit for the second quarter, versus a $530 million loss last year. The better-than-expected quarter came from warm weather, the deferral of unrecovered fuel costs and higher margins in the generation business. (News release

The Altria Group beat analyst expectations for its second-quarter income, which was lifted by increased cigarette prices and cigar sales. 

The Brink’s Co. reported a 48 percent increase in the second quarter to $49 million. The Richmond company’s boost came mostly from its Latin American and European units. (The Associated Press)

For the Record

The General Accounting Office recommended to the Naval Sea Systems Command that the $228 million contract awarded to Metro Machine Corp. for midlife refurbishing of six dock landing ships be reviewed. A joint venture of Colonna’s Shipyards Inc., Marine Hydraulics International Inc. and Tecnico Corp. protested the original contract award, claiming that Metro’s bid was more expensive. The companies have pressed the Navy to re-open the bidding for the contract. Work on the first vessel, the Gunston Hall, has already begun. The second ship in line will be brought in next year. (The Virginian-Pilot)

FedEx Ground, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp, signed a five-year lease for approximately 75,000 square feet in First Potomac’s Diamond Hill Distribution Center in Chesapeake. The facility will house the company’s residential delivery service, FedEx Home Delivery. Diamond Hill is a four-building industrial park, totaling 712,500 square feet on 37.4 acres, located adjacent to Route 64.

The Shops at White Oak Village, a major shopping development for Eastern Henrico County, announced the signing of 37 tenants, nearly filling the development. New tenants, not previously announced, include Bath & Body Works, Anna’s Linens, GameStop, Rack Room Shoes and Five Below. The center is expected to be fully leased within a year of its October opening. The 900,000-square-foot center is part of a $158 million development that sits on 136 acres off of Laburnum Avenue and Interstate 64. It is the first major development for that area of the county. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

StellarOne, a Charlottesville-based bank, formed by the merger of FNB Corp. of Christiansburg, and Virginia Financial Group, of Culpeper, laid off about 60 employees as a result of the merger which formed it. Bank officials said no further layoffs are anticipated. Earlier in the year StellarOne reported it had 965 employees, current employment was put at 901. (The Roanoke Times)


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