Labor Force

A workforce of 150,000 resides within a 45-minute drive time of Wythe County Progress Park. Within 60 miles the workforce jumps to over 450,000 with a manufacturing segment of over 44,000. Due to the excellent accessibility provided by the presence of two interstates (I-77 and I-81), a 45-minute drive can capture workers from seven Virginia counties as well as from West Virginia and North Carolina. Companies paying competitive wages generally do not have trouble finding interest among workers as demonstrated by the fact that in 2005 and early 2006, the local Virginia Employment Commission office received over 5,000 inquiries about employment opportunities at the new Gatorade facility.

Workforce Demographics (60 mi. radius)

  • Total Population:  971,188
  • Population Growth Rate:  1%
  • Population Aged 15-44:  441,978
  • Labor Force:  450,844
  • Manufacturing Labor Force:  44,470
  • Unemployment Rate:  5.2%

Labor costs are attractive in Southwest Virginia. Often wages are about 80% of the statewide average. Manufacturing wages tend to average from $9.00/hour for unskilled manufacturing workers to over $15.00/hour for skilled maintenance and other technicians. The average mean wage for common manufacturing positions within the region was only 88.8% of the state average.


Wythe County’s tax structure is very competitive and negotiated incentives can affect it further.

Right to Work

Virginia is the northernmost right-to-work state in the eastern US, and union participation is at or less than 1%.

For a wealth of labor market data and analysis for Wythe County, Workforce Investment Area II (a 13-county area with Wytheville near the center), and Virginia, as well as other geographic selections, click here.