EFC Metro Closing This Weekend — The Vienna, Dunn Loring and East Falls Church Metro stations will be closed this weekend, “due to preparation for the Summer Platform Improvement Project.” Per Metro: “Customers on Ballston-bound Orange Line trains who are continuing on to West Falls Church should exit the train at Virginia Square for a same platform transfer.” [WMATA]
Pentagon City Armed Robbery Spike — “So far in 2020, there have been five total armed robberies in Pentagon City. Last year, there were seven for the entire year.” In response to the recent string of parking garage carjackings, Pentagon City mall says “we have increased our security presence to ensure a safe and secure environment.” [WJLA]
Arlington’s Ultra-Low Unemployment Rate — “How low can it go? That may be the question for Arlington’s unemployment rate. The jobless figure squeezed down to 1.6 percent in December, ending the year at its lowest rate of 2019 and – for the umpteenth month and year in a row – lowest in the commonwealth.” [InsideNova]
NFL Star Returns to Arlington — “M. J. Stewart, @Buccaneers Cornerback and Arlington native stopped by his alma mater @APSVirginia!” [Twitter]
Arlington Dems Want Record Turnout — “The Arlington County Democratic Committee is aiming to increase the community’s 2020 voter-participation rate nearly 10 percent from 2016’s presidential race, building on past efforts and launching new initiatives to get there. ‘We’re pulling out all the stops,’ party chair Jill Caiazzo said on Feb. 5.” [InsideNova]
Arlington’s Pupatella Coming to D.C. — “The rumors are true: Pupatella will bring its wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas to Dupont Circle, occupying the prime indoor/outdoor space that housed Rosemary’s Thyme for nearly 18 years. Owner and Naples native Enzo Algarme says his team is angling for a spring opening.” [Washingtonian, PoPville]
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Rescuers Searching for Vehicle in the Water — “A vehicle apparently went into the water Sunday night near Roosevelt Island in the Potomac River, and a search was still under way Monday morning, authorities said. The search was being conducted near the island’s parking lot, according to the D.C. Fire and EMS Department. A witness reported that the vehicle went into the water.” [Washington Post, Twitter]
Amazon Less Worried About HQ2 Housing Impact — “Amazon said its second headquarters in Arlington will not aggravate housing problems as much as the company has in Seattle because it will be able to plan for growth here in a way that it couldn’t in earlier years in its home base. Jay Carney, a senior vice president with the online retail giant, also said the company chose the Washington region for HQ2 and its 25,000 jobs partly because it is ‘a much more racially diverse area than the Pacific Northwest.'” [Washington Post]
Amazon’s Transformative Effect on Crystal City — “All of this points toward a vision of the future that was far-fetched even a few years ago: Crystal City as a place people would want to remain in after 5 p.m.” [Washingtonian]
County Had Cozy Emails with JBG Smith — “In a Dec. 6 email to Andy VanHorn, the executive vice president at JBG Smith Properties overseeing the development of Amazon.com Inc.’s second headquarters, Schwartz pledged open and unfettered access to a roster of key county officials charged with overseeing the various pieces of the approval process.” [Washington Business Journal]
Arlington Unemployment Rate: 2.1% — “Arlington will have to share the title of lowest jobless rate in Virginia for at least a month. With 150,932 county residents in the civilian workforce and 3,216 looking for jobs, Arlington’s unemployment rate for March stood at 2.1 percent, unchanged for a month before and tied with the adjacent city of Falls Church as lowest among the commonwealth’s 133 cities and counties.” [InsideNova]
Arlington Man Arrested After Police Chase — “An Arlington resident was arrested Thursday for allegedly stealing a Porsche and leading Fairfax County police on a chase through Tysons.” [Tysons Reporter]
Nearly three quarters of all IT workers across the D.C. region would consider leaving their current job to work for Amazon, a new survey shows, revealing just how impactful the company’s arrival in Arlington could be on the local labor market.
A poll released today (Wednesday) by Eagle Hill Consulting, and conducted by the survey firm Ipsos, found that 51 percent of employees across all occupations would jump ship for Jeff Bezos’ company. The group found that younger people and tech workers were especially enthusiastic about the company, with 60 percent of millennials expressing interest in Amazon and 71 percent of IT workers showing a willingness to leave.
The research underscores the fears harbored among many smaller, tech-focused startups in the D.C. area that Amazon’s arrival in Crystal City and Pentagon City (set to begin in earnest this year) will result in a brain drain of sorts. Eagle Hill also expects that federal workers could find themselves lured into the private sector by Amazon’s hefty paychecks, particularly as the company ramps up hiring for the 25,000 jobs it expects to eventually bring to its new headquarters.
“Area employers should be worried, especially those that need to retain their tech talent,” Melissa Jezior, Eagle Hill’s president and CEO, wrote in a statement. “Private sector and government employers will have to do all they can now to hang on to their employees before Amazon arrives – especially in such a tight labor market.”
As Jezior points out, unemployment rates are low around the country at the moment, especially in Arlington, which regularly posts the lowest jobless rate in the whole state. To Eagle Hill researchers, that means employers will need to “dig deep to understand their employees’ satisfaction and deliver what their workforce needs are positioned to hold onto their star employees when Amazon moves in,” Jezior said.
The poll results show that 71 percent of all workers see a move to Amazon as a chance to earn more pay, while 45 percent say they’d make the move to do “more interesting work.” An identical number said they’d move to Amazon in order to work “for a progressive company” — Bezos’ firm has been a leader in bumping up wages for its warehouse workers, but has also taken plenty of criticism for its labor practices and support for the Trump administration’s immigration tactics.
Among IT workers, those numbers are even stronger: 71 percent see a chance for higher salary, 55 percent are enthusiastic about more interesting work, and 51 percent want to work for a progressive company.
Victor Hoskins, director of Arlington Economic Development, acknowledged that Amazon will put pressure on the labor market, as will the tech companies who flock to the area to take advantage of Amazon’s arrival. But he was also quick to point out that companies concerned about losing employees will have to time to prepare and do the sort of introspection that Jezior recommends.
“Only a few hundred jobs are coming here in the first year, so if that’s the concern, they can get a jump on them,” Hoskins said. “The big numbers really don’t start until 2020, 2021.”
Much like other surveys of attitudes about the company, Eagle Hill found that opinions on Amazon were largely positive: 83 percent of workers surveyed believe the company will have a positive impact on the local economy. Additionally, 88 percent believe Amazon will improve prospects for job seekers and 73 percent think the company will have a positive impact on “overall compensation” in the region.
But Amazon’s impact on Northern Virginia’s already crowded roads emerged as a clear concern among those survey — 77 percent believe Amazon will have a negative impact on traffic, a common view among Arlington residents but one generally not shared by local officials.
Eagle Hill says Ipsos conducted the survey by collecting responses online from about 1,000 “working age” people across the D.C. region.
Photo via Amazon
Flash Flood Watch Today — Arlington and much of the region is again under a Flash Flood Watch today and through early Saturday. Heavy rains expected during the day and evening may cause flash flooding, forecasters say. [Twitter, Weather.gov]
Smoke the Dog Visits Nats Park — Smoke, the Arlington shelter dog with terminal cancer who’s become an internet star for his quest to check off his “bucket list,” had quite a Thursday. The hound got to visit home plate at Nationals Park yesterday, and also got to go home to a new adoptive dog mom. [WJLA]
Arlington Unemployment Rate Still Lowest in Va. — “Despite a second month in a row of upticks, Arlington’s unemployment rate in June remained the envy of Virginia’s 132 other cities and counties. With 150,837 county residents in the civilian workforce and 3,393 looking for jobs, Arlington’s non-seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate of 2.2 percent in June was lowest in the commonwealth.” [InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
In all, the county has about 149,000 people employed of its nearly 152,000 residents, pegging its unemployment rate at 1.9 percent. That represents a decline from the month of March when the county posted a 2.2 percent rate, according to numbers released last Wednesday (May 30) by the Virginia Employment Commission.
The new figure reflects an even larger decrease from the same time period a year ago, when the county’s unemployment rate stood at 2.3 percent.
Virginia as a whole posted a 2.8 percent unemployment rate for the month of April, while the Northern Virginia region came in at 2.4 percent overall.
Among the Northern Virginia localities, Falls Church placed right behind Arlington at 2.1 percent, with Alexandria and Fairfax City finishing a close third at 2.2 percent.
The full Northern Virginia unemployment numbers, by locality, are below.
1. Arlington County: 1.9 percent
2. Falls Church City: 2.1 percent
T-3. Alexandria City: 2.2 percent
T-3. Fairfax City: 2.2 percent
T-4. Loudoun County: 2.3 percent
T-4. Fairfax County: 2.3 percent
T-5. Manassas City: 2.5 percent
T-5: Manassas Park City: 2.5 percent
6. Prince William County: 2.6 percent
7. Stafford County: 2.7 percent
Virginia Unemployment Rate Drops — Virginia’s unemployment rate has ticked down a tenth of a point to 3.7 percent. That’s the Commonwealth’s lowest unemployment rate since April 2008. [Virginian-Pilot, Twitter]
Crash Victim Remembered — Arlington resident William F. Schlesinger, who died after falling asleep and crashing his pickup truck on I-95 in North Carolina, is being remembered by friends. Schlesinger’s story generated additional headlines after his dog, who was traveling with him at the time, was found alive 10 days after the crash. [Fayetteville Observer]
‘Open Door Monday’ Today — The County Board might have already held its final meeting before its summer break, but there is one more “Open Door Monday” session on the schedule. Today a County Board member will be available to chat with residents on any topic, without an appointment, at the Aurora Hills Branch Library near Pentagon City. The next Open Door Monday will be held after Labor Day. [Arlington County]
Arlington Ridge Water Main Repairs — Arlington Ridge Road is partially blocked and several dozen water customers are without service this morning due to emergency water repairs. The repairs are expected to be complete by 4 p.m. [Twitter, Twitter]
Oracle Acquiring Opower — Updated at 9:55 a.m. — Technology giant Oracle is acquiring Arlington-based Opower in a $548 million cash deal. Opower recently went through a round of layoffs. [Reuters, Oracle]
Clarendon Z-Burger to Get New Name — The Z-Burger location in Clarendon will be rebranded soon as part of a legal settlement between the founder and the former partners in the business. [Washington Business Journal]
Arlington Unemployment Remains Lowest in Va. — Arlington’s unemployment rate ticked up by a tenth of a percent in March, but remained the lowest in Virginia. The county’s unemployment rate is currently 2.7 percent, with just under 4,000 residents looking for work while 142,000 are employed. [InsideNova]
Foggy Morning Commute — Arlington and much of the region was under a Dense Fog Advisory this morning. [Weather Channel]
Arlington Unemployment Down — The unemployment rate for Arlington County residents fell below 3 percent in April. The jobless rate fell to 2.9 percent from 3.1 percent in March. Arlington has the lowest unemployment rate in Virginia. [InsdeNova]
Office Vacancy Still Rising — The office vacancy rate in Arlington rose to 21.7 percent during the first quarter of 2015. That’s up from 20.5 percent one year prior. [InsideNova]
Evolent Health IPO — Updated at 9:45 a.m. — Ballston-based Evolent Health is completing its initial public stock offering. The software company is raising about $195 million at a price of $17 per share. Public trading of ticker symbol EVH on the New York Stock Exchange is expected to begin today (Friday). [DC Inno, Venture Beat]
Beyer Speaks Out Against Metro Cuts — Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) and a group of eight other D.C. area members of Congress have joined to oppose Republican-proposed cuts to WMATA. “We saw earlier this week at Memorial Bridge what happens when Congress abdicates its responsibility to fund our nation’s infrastructure,” Beyer said in a press release. “Now is not the time to back out of our commitment to the national capital metro system. For the safety of all the thousands of tourists, commuters, and federal employees that ride it every day, Metro has to improve. Bleeding the system dry with shortsighted reckless funding cuts is no way to do that.” [U.S. House of Representatives]
Arlington Loses Lowest Unemployment Crown — Arlington’s years-long streak of having the lowest unemployment rate in Virginia has ended. In November Falls Church had the lowest jobless rate, at 3 percent, to 3.1 percent for Arlington. Statewide, Virginia’s unemployment rate fell from 4.8 percent in October to 4.5 percent in November. [InsideNova]
Arlington Man Pleads Guilty to Drug Trafficking — Arlington resident Anthony Tatum, 36, has pleaded guilty to drug trafficking, money laundering and other related crimes, according to federal prosecutors.Tatum and a co-conspirator were accused of distributing cocaine and heroin, primarily in Maryland. Tatum, who agreed to forfeit $108 million in cash, vehicles, jewelry and other items, reportedly lived in a Pentagon City apartment building. [Patch]
Pinkberry to Close? — The future of Arlington’s Pinkberry frozen yogurt store is uncertain. The local Pinkberry franchisee has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation. The franchisee, which has stores in D.C., National Harbor, Clarendon and elsewhere in Northern Virginia, cited debts of more than $1.2 million in the filing. Those debts include $44,121 in back taxes owed to Arlington County. [Washington Business Journal]
Wardian Sets New Record — Arlington resident Michael Wardian, 40, has set a new world record for the fastest indoor 50K. Wardian covered the distance in 3:06:07 at a 200-meter indoor track in Hagerstown, Md. That shatters his former world record, of 3:12:13, set at the Thomas Jefferson Community Center in Arlington. [Herald-Mail]
Arlington Native Releases Music Video — Arlington-born rapper C-Luv has released a new music video for his track “Grind.” The video features scenes shot around Arlington, including in a skatepark, Wakefield High School and in the Nauck neighborhood. [YouTube – NSFW]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
Eliminating the stigma against technical education will help young Virginians get better jobs, Sen. Tim Kaine said at a panel discussion Wednesday afternoon at the Capitol, where two Arlington teachers spoke about their successes in the field.
Young people can get better-paying jobs if the perception of high school job-skills courses is changed from an option for failing students to a smart choice, Kaine said. The discussion was held by the national education coalition Advocates for Literacy and the Senate Career and Technical Education Caucus, of which Kaine is co-chair.
“This big-picture goal which our caucus is related to is de-stigmatizing [career and technical education] and making it really hot, sexy and cool,” he said. “Technical education is coming back strong and it’s something we can celebrate.”
Jeffrey Elkner and Sean Kinnard, both teachers at the Arlington Public Schools-run Arlington Career Center, described how giving youth practical skills motivates them.
“Students who would be turned off otherwise make real-world connections,” said Elkner, who teaches math and information technology at the career center. Located at 816 S. Walter Reed Drive, the school trains more than 1,100 students a day in programs including animal science, cosmetology and automotive technology.
Kinnard spoke about a teen from Afghanistan who was disengaged in ordinary high school classes but had a passion for cars. After participating in the school’s two-year auto tech program, the teen now works for a Mercedes dealer.
“The program got him the industry credentials he needed to get his job,” said Kinnard, who teaches English as a Second Language.
Kaine described a disconnect between job seekers’ skills and the positions available.
“There’s a mismatch right now between the unemployment rate and positions going unfilled, and what that means is we’re not training people in the right skills,” he said. “[Career and technical education] is probably the best thing you can do to realign that so the skills match up with the needs.”
The junior senator introduced on Wednesday the Middle School Technical Education Program Act, which would encourage middle school students to explore technical career options and provide access to apprenticeships.