Rep. Beyer: Stay Home This Weekend — “In the nation’s capital we finally managed to slow the spread of COVID-19. The people in our region sacrificed to make these gains, and we should do all we can to hold on to this progress. Staying home on July Fourth and avoiding large gatherings is the best way to do this. Those who go out should absolutely wear a mask, and social distance without fail.” [Press Release]
Local Unemployment Rate Improves — “The local employment picture in May crawled back slightly from the abyss of April, according to new state data, with most parts of Northern Virginia seeing modest improvements in unemployment rates. In Arlington, May’s jobless rate of 6.1 percent was a comeback from 7 percent in April, although it remains far above norms of the past decade.” [InsideNova]
Wardian Running Through Delaware — “With most major races wiped off the calendar, professional ultramarathon runner Michael Wardian was asked to run 96 miles — the length of Delaware — over the course of a month as part of a virtual charity event. ‘I was like, ‘It’s 96 miles, I’ll just do it in one day,” Wardian said.” Wardian said in an Instagram post that his route will actually take him 135 miles over the course of about 24 hours. [Delaware Online, Instagram]
Ballston Company Makes Big Donation — “Today The AES Corporation (NYSE: AES) stepped up to provide immediate relief to hundreds of families who are struggling to put food on their tables as a result of the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. A $25,000 contribution… will allow [Arlington nonprofits APAH and AHC] to provide $100 grocery gift cards to a combined total of 250 low-income households in their apartment buildings. This grant is the first tranche of a $75,000 total commitment from AES to the Arlington Community Foundation.” [Press Release]
Good News on ARLnow’s Instagram — Arlington Community Federal Credit Union is sponsoring a month-long series of “good news” stories posted to ARLnow’s Instagram account. The innovative partnership will further ARLnow’s journalistic mission and give our Instagram followers something to feel good about near the end of each day. [Twitter]
Reminder: Road Closures Tomorrow — “Road closures are planned from 4-11 p.m. Saturday around the Air Force Memorial, Iwo Jima Memorial and Long Bridge Park. Street parking will also be restricted in the area.” [ARLnow]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
Arlington Riot Cops Sued by ACLU — “Defendants John Poe 1 – 20 are officers of the Arlington County Police Department and other non-federal law enforcement officials who participated in the attack on peaceful protesters in and near Lafayette Square on June 1, 2020. They are sued in their individual capacities.” [Associated Press, Washington Post]
Washington Monument Struck By Lightning — As seen from the Crystal City / Pentagon City area, the Washington Monument took a direct lightning strike last night. [Twitter]
Marymount Apologizes for Removed BLM Tweet — “One specific concern we heard in the Listening Session referenced the removal of a social media post last Saturday which included the message, ‘Black Lives Matter.’ This was the wrong decision. We apologize and acknowledge the impact this decision has had on our Marymount community.” [Marymount University]
Arlington Unemployment Spikes — “The COVID-19 pandemic, subsequent government-imposed lockdown and resulting economic freefall cost nearly 17,000 Arlington residents their jobs between mid-March and mid-April, according to new state data… The county’s unemployment rate, which in March had been a miniscule 2.2 percent, ballooned to 7 percent, knocking the county off its longstanding perch of having the best jobs picture in the commonwealth.” [InsideNova]
Local Centenarian Gets Neighborhood Parade — “Right around 5 p.m. on her 100th birthday, her usually quiet neighborhood in North Arlington was shaken up by loud sirens and flashing lights. A caravan of vehicles blaring sirens, tooting horns and shouting greetings snaked down the street for several blocks. The parade of sorts was led by two Arlington County Police officers on motorcycles followed by countless police vehicles, Arlington County Fire Department engines, sheriffs’ vehicles and several private cars and trucks, one sporting an inflatable unicorn on its roof.” [Arlington Catholic Herald]
APS Welcomes New Superintendent — “This is Dr. Francisco Durán’s first week as Superintendent of Arlington Public Schools. Welcome aboard! As a reminder, there are several Virtual Town Halls scheduled this month for our community, students and staff to get to know Dr. Durán.” [Arlington Public Schools]
Trash Collection Still Facing Delays — “Arlington’s trash/recycling contractor continues to experience staffing issues due to COVID-19. As a result, some routes recently have not been completed on their scheduled day, requiring a follow-up run the next day. If trash and/or recycling is not collected on your service day, leave the carts at the curb the next day. If carts have not been serviced by noon the second day, submit a missed collection ticket.” [Arlington County]
Black Lives Matter Live Chat with ACPD — “Yolande Kwinana will interview Chief Jay Farr and Andy Penn on the current situation regarding police brutality and what ACPD is doing to protect the Arlington African American people. I encourage Arlingtonians to send in questions during the live and in the discussion tab before the live chat.” [Facebook]
N. Va. Unemployment Rate Rises — “Northern Virginia’s unemployment rate hit 10% in April as business shutdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic ricocheted through the economy. A total of 163,158 Northern Virginia residents were unemployed and looking for work during the month, the Virginia Employment reported Wednesday.” [InsideNova]
Nearby: Movie Theater Unlikely to Reopen — “The Regal Potomac Yard movie theater appears to have shown its last picture. Regal Cinemas has scrubbed the 16-theater multiplex at 3575 Potomac Ave. from its list of Virginia locations on its website. Couple that with the fact Virginia Tech and JBG Smith Properties plan to redevelop the North Potomac Yard site on an accelerated timeline, it’s likely the theater showed its last film months ago.” [Washington Business Journal]
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]