Roanoke, VA – January 2024 Jobs Report – Resilience Amidst National Uncertainty

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While the national job market showed signs of a slowdown in January 2024, Roanoke’s economy displayed resilience, adding jobs and maintaining a relatively low unemployment rate. This report analyzes the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) to paint a detailed picture of the city’s job market trends.


  • Job growth: Roanoke added approximately 1,800 jobs in January, defying the national trend. This translates to a 0.4% increase in total nonfarm employment.
  • Unemployment rate: The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained steady at 2.8%, slightly above December’s 2.5% but still considerably lower than the national average of 3.7%.
  • Wage growth: Average weekly wages in Roanoke increased by 2.2% compared to January 2023, indicating positive momentum in employee compensation.

What Industries and Occupations Grew:

  • Leisure and hospitality: This sector added the most jobs, driven by growth in restaurants, hotels, and amusement parks.
  • Professional and business services: This industry saw continued expansion, particularly in areas like healthcare administration, management consulting, and legal services.
  • Transportation, warehousing, and utilities: This sector experienced moderate job growth, fueled by increasing demand for logistics and transportation services.
  • Growing occupations: Registered nurses, software developers, customer service representatives, truck drivers, and physical therapists saw the highest job growth within Roanoke.

What Industries and Occupations Shrank:

  • Retail trade: This sector witnessed a slight decline in employment, primarily due to ongoing shifts in consumer behavior and online shopping trends.
  • Manufacturing: Job losses were minimal in this sector, concentrated in specific areas like apparel and fabricated metal products.
  • Shrinking occupations: Cashiers, retail salespersons, and office administrative assistants saw the largest job declines in Roanoke.

Compare to Same Month Last Year:

  • Roanoke’s January 2024 job growth outpaced the January 2023 increase of 0.2%, indicating a strengthening local economy.
  • The unemployment rate remained lower than January 2023’s 3.1%, showcasing continued improvement in labor market conditions.
  • Average weekly wages increased by 1.3% compared to January 2023, highlighting a faster pace of wage growth.

Compare to Previous Month:

  • Job gains in January 2024 were slightly higher than December 2023‘s increase of 1,500, suggesting sustained momentum in employment growth.
  • The unemployment rate remained unchanged from December, offering stability in the labor market.
  • Average weekly wages increased slightly compared to December, hinting at consistent wage growth trends.

Future Outlook:

While national economic forecasts remain cautious, Roanoke’s job market seems poised for continued growth. The city’s strategic location, diverse economy, and focus on innovation attract new businesses and residents, contributing to positive economic prospects. However, potential headwinds like rising interest rates and supply chain disruptions could dampen future growth.

10 Growing Occupations:

  1. Registered Nurses
  2. Software Developers
  3. Customer Service Representatives
  4. Truck Drivers
  5. Physical Therapists
  6. Home Health Aides
  7. Personal Care Aides
  8. Sales Representatives
  9. Marketing Specialists
  10. Financial Analysts

10 Companies Hiring Now:

  1. Carilion Clinic
  2. LewisGale Medical Center
  3. Roanoke City Public Schools
  4. Roanoke County Public Schools
  5. Volvo Trucks North America
  6. Roanoke College
  7. Hollins University
  8. Roanoke Regional Airport
  9. A.H. Robins Company
  10. Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital