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The cumulative salaries of industries in cities around Virginia

Photo Credit: Prostock-studio

Besides the accomplishments and profits that an industry makes in a city, how can you determine its success? LeadMD recently set out to broaden the definition of success (and even demise) by conducting an analysis of employment numbers and average salaries of industries across the country.

From booming tech industries on the west coast to the decline of real estate salaries and employment in cities all over, how do Virginia cities sit in the rankings of this analysis? Keep reading to find the results of industries in Washington, D.C., Virginia Beach, and Richmond.

Washington, D.C.

While not technically in Virginia, Washington D.C. still plays a huge role in our community and in the lives of Virginia residents. The Virginia cities that surround it, like Arlington, also contribute to the success of the greater area.

The study found that Washington D.C.’s tech industry is their largest industry by payroll salary — which isn’t necessarily surprising. This industry pays its employees almost $50 million in total. It also accounts for nearly 10% of the D.C. metro area’s total GDP. Washington D.C.’s tech industry also ranks #2 for the industries with the highest cumulative salary in the country, as it sits just below New York City’s tech industry and above San Francisco’s tech industry.

What is impressive, however, is the amount of growth the industry has experienced over time. The cumulative salary for the tech industry in the area has grown over 570% since 2013, which also puts it in first place for the area’s fastest growing industries. Behind the stellar growth of the area’s tech industry is the transportation and utilities industry, which has experienced a 170% increase in cumulative salary since 2013, and the finance industry, which has experienced a 127% increase in cumulative salary since 2013.

Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach’s strengths come from other industries than Washington D.C.’s. Out of all industries, the public administration industry in Virginia Beach is the industry with the highest cumulative salary. While it isn’t even close to the cumulative salary of D.C.’s tech industry, the $4 million that public administration employees are paid in the greater Virginia Beach area still plays a huge role in the community. It’s another growing industry, as it’s seen a 141% increase in cumulative salary over the past few years.

While this industry has impressive numbers, it’s not the industry with the most growth in cumulative salary in the area. The management industry has had a 283% growth from 2013 to 2017 — and it doesn’t even rank in the top 5 industries in the area with the highest cumulative salary.

Another surprising figure is the growth of the arts and entertainment industry. While the growth isn’t as large (54%) as some of the other industries mentioned, it’s an industry that will always benefit the area. Not only do arts and entertainment provide plenty of cultural and creative experiences to a neighborhood, but it also provides jobs to those who seek to take part in the experience.


Richmond is another city where tech comes above all. The tech industry in Richmond has over $3.3 million that is paid in salary to its employees, however, it doesn’t show as much growth as tech industries in other cities do. The cumulative salary of this industry in Richmond has only increased 17% from 2013 to 2017, showing that the employment numbers and average salary hasn’t made too much of a significant increase.

When it comes to actual growth, the industries that are thriving in Richmond are public administration, arts and entertainment, and the food and accommodation industries. Like Virginia Beach, having these industries grow shows growth in culture and entertainment, which provides so much value to those who live within the community.

No matter where you are in Virginia, there are always going to be strengths and weaknesses in the economy and in the community. It’s always eye-opening to see the performance from a different perspective, especially when it pertains to the cities themselves rather than the whole state. The tech industry is growing in a lot of areas not only in the United States but globally as well, so it’s great to see some of that success come from our own state. Interested in seeing the stats for other industries in Virginia or other states? Go to the original study.

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