“Are we headed for a recession or not?”

“A recession might be coming. Here’s what to expect.”

“Here’s what the jobs will be during the rolling recessions.”

“Another tech company lays off thousands.”

If you’re paying attention to the national media, these are the very headlines and sound bites you, and many more Americans, have been hearing.

Are they true?

Yes.

But does it reflect the reality of the communities The Lee Group serves in Virginia (Richmond, Newport News, Hampton, Williamsburg, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake)?

Not so much.

It is, however, shaping the very questions people do ask us about and the conversations we’re having.

“Are companies still hiring around here?”

“Given the recession we’re heading into, are there still jobs available in Virginia?”

“Should I hire right now when there is so much going on in the economy?”

Sticking true to his core value of “being a straight shooter unafraid of the truth,” Walt Graham, President of The Lee Group answers those questions pretty easily…and directly.

“Don’t buy into the hype,” Graham says. “The economy is still pretty strong. Sure, there are areas we are seeing weakening, like tech, but it’s not a strong enough dip that we are feeling the hurt.”

Need some examples to back that up?

Recently, The Lee Group was invited to participate in a job fair and “we’re so busy doing what we’re doing that it’s hard to even get to a job fair,” said Lee Group’s Vice President of Operations Sarah Fulton.

Plus, the greater employment story here in Hampton Roads, amid national challenges, remains a good one.

“Without getting into too many details, a local manufacturer we work with and are hiring for, continues to expand, meaning they are investing more into their workforce and creating jobs,” Fulton said.

That’s just one example, Fulton says, adding that they’re anticipating the demand for workforce and creation of jobs to get even stronger, especially in the hospitality industry, as the summer heats up.

Then there’s the story of off-shore wind off the coast of Virginia.

“Companies are coming here, to Virginia and the areas where we recruit, because of those clean energy efforts,” Graham said. “I got a call from a woman who used to work for us and is now looking to move her family’s manufacturing business back to Hampton Roads.”

Or the company that wanted to expand its footprint but before they could make an offer on a recently available commercial space was outbid.

There’s always going to be work and opportunity here, Fulton said, pointing to Hampton Roads and Richmond’s key location and mix of industry.

“We all need to balance what we hear on the national scale and view it through the lens of what we have going on locally,” Fulton says. “That’s where we can really start to see the reality, and not buy into the hype.”

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