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The Defense Industry’s Economic Impact on the Charlottesville Region

This study examines the size, growth, features, and economic impacts of the defense industry on the Charlottesville Region. Charlottesville’s defense industry has grown over the last decade and includes more than 100 local entities involved in defense intelligence and research, military education, and defense contracting. Statistics from public data sources indicate that Department of Defense (DoD) military and civilian employment grew 15% from 2011 to 2021. These publicly available figures, however, vastly underestimate the size and actual growth of DoD employment in the region because employment for two major military employers is excluded from the regional data. When estimated employment figures for these entities are added, the growth rate increases to 67% and the Weldon Cooper Center estimates that, over the same period, employment grew an estimated 50% in work related to contracts and research grants. Overall, the findings suggest that the defense industry’s regional economic footprint is growing.  

A picture of a defense building in Charlottesville.

Economic impact results indicate that the defense industry directly accounts for 3,972 jobs, $421 million in labor income, $501 million in value-added, and $642 million in output. When indirect and induced impacts from this activity are accounted for, the total regional economic impact is 7,347 jobs, $618 million in labor income, $831 million in value-added and $1.2 billion in output. Rivanna Station (pictured) is the largest single contributor, accounting for approximately half of the total regional defense industry employment impact. The regional defense industry likely also impacts the local community through improved safety, increased volunteerism, better social and economic distributional outcomes, greater innovation, and other positive spillover effects. 

For the full report, download the file below. 


The Defense Industry’s Economic Impact on the Charlottesville Region_full report