High Cost Of Living And Low Average Annual Wages

By: Summer Knowles
By: Summer Knowles

September 21, 2005

It costs a pretty penny to live in Charlottesville, in comparison to other cities.

That high cost of living in combination with low annual average pay means a lot less expendable income for local workers. The lack of affordable housing is a big reason for this.

"All the stories are coming out [saying] Charlottesville's this wonderful place to live, and then you look at work and it's a very different situation," said Joyce Robbins, the President and C.E.O of Adams & Garth Staffing.

Robbins has worked with Adams & Garth Staffing for a number of years and says it has been increasingly difficult to attract qualified employees to the area.

"Even if you have two incomes, if somebody's making $30,000 or $40,000 with even two incomes, you still have a hard time qualifying for some of the homes here in Charlottesville, or even apartments," she explained.

The Thomas Jefferson Partnership for Economic Development agrees.

"It does provide I think a burden for a lot of the folks who do live here, predominantly public employees, like teachers, policemen and firemen, as well those workers who have to basically live on an hourly wage," says Bob DeMaur.

To combat high living costs, officials are hoping to transition Charlottesville into a more knowledge-based economy with better jobs and higher pay.

But for those looking to make the move in the near future, Robbins
offers some advice: "Get ready to be under-employed if you're highly educated and have expectations of finding a big job with [some company at] an executive level position. They're hard to come by."

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