In the past decade, Loudoun County, Va. has grown from an area of quiet farms to a booming region flush with defense jobs. The county has become “emblematic of the new northern Virginia – upper-middle class, fast-growing and increasingly diverse,” wrote John Avalon for CNN.
The defense spending boom under President George W. Bush after 9/11 drew many defense workers and contractors to Loudoun County. Over the past year population in the county doubled to 312,000. Now, Loudoun County has the highest median household income in the United States, at $119,000 a year. The third largest employee in the county currently is the Department of Homeland Security.
Loudoun County boasts a sizeable high tech workforce, with a “data center building boom” underway in the region, according to Datacenterknowledge.com. The county is home to more than 5 million square feet of data center space, housing servers for Facebook, Amazon, Rackspace, Google, Microsoft and hundreds of other companies. Several more data center projects are either underway or planned.
Over the next 27 years, dramatic job growth is expected in Loudoun and Prince William counties, with employment growing at a faster rate than the population, said Ron Kirby, transportation planning director for the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board.
“There is also a big influx of high-tech jobs and defense spending in Virginia,” Kirby said. “It is the fastest-growing area in the region.”
However, Katie Sheldon Hammler, president of the defense contract firm KSH Technology Solutions, told CNN that if sequestration spending cuts occur, it could be devastating for the county.
“(Sequestration) is going to be as serious a problem to our north Virginia region as the fallout of the car industry was to Detroit,” Hammler said. “It will be small businesses like ours that are going to be hit the most. Two million jobs will be lost, half of which will be from small companies. We’ll be hit earliest and hardest.”