ODU releases its State of the Commonwealth report

Photo Credit: Old Dominion University

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Old Dominion University’s Center for Economic Analysis and Policy released its annual State of the Commonwealth report Sunday.

It’s the companion to their State of the Region report, released in October.

The report calls the state’s economic growth rates disappointing, attributing its lack of growth to dependence on federal spending and “lackluster job creation” among small and medium-sized businesses.

The estimated growth this year is 1.8 percent, but that growth rate is slower than the U.S. average.

It also states that Virginia has become an expensive place to pursue a public higher education degree.

Labor market conditions improved, the report says. Nearly 4.4 million Virginians were in the labor force this September, up approximately 85,000 from last year.

This was the second-highest year for job creation since the Great Recession and is a welcome sign after our mediocre growth in 2013 and 2014. But why isn’t it great? According to the report, job growth in the Commonwealth continues to lag the United States.

The report also discusses the opioid epidemic in Virginia, stating it is the leading cause of accidental death in the state. Total opioid overdose deaths are higher in southwestern, northern and coastal regions of Virginia. According to Professor Richard Mcnab who conducted the study, it is shocking to find the type of opiod influences on certain parts of Virginia. He notes the shock is not in the number of people who died but now, more so the emergence of new drugs. For example, people are more likely to abuse prescription opiods in Southwestern Virginia and in Hampton Roads, people are more likely to overdose from illegal opiods like fentanyl and heroin.

There are several policy recommendations in relation to the opioid crisis inside the report.

You can read the full report here: ODU State of Commonwealth Report 2017