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NOVA News/Highlights

Posted on: November 9, 2023

NVRC Releases First-of-Kind Report Analyzing Effects of Foreign Direct Investment in NoVA

Map of the World

The Northern Virginia Regional Commission (NVRC), with support from the “Go Virginia Region 7 Council” and Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, Arlington County Economic Development, City of Alexandria Economic Development Partnership , Loudoun County Economic Development and Prince William County Economic Development, have completed a precedent-setting analysis about the effects of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) within the boundaries of the City of Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties.   The study was conducted by S&P Global under a contract with the NVRC.

The study is the first of its kind in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the second in the United States after Los Angeles County. The study assessed all sectors except retail.

The findings of the study highlight that:

  • 1,252 foreign establishments in Northern Virginia employ approximately 50,879 people

  • Approximately $6.8 Billion in wages are annually paid into Northern Virginia’s economy from FDI

  • FDI in Northern Virginia accounts for approximately 4.6% of all job creation

  • Average of 40.6 employees per foreign establishment compared to 13.9 across all types of companies

  • Professional, scientific and technical services account for approximately 49% of employment from FDI in Northern Virginia

The top five foreign investors in the region are (ranked by job creation):

  1. United Kingdom (11,980 jobs, 247 establishments)

  2. Germany (5,976 jobs, 101 establishments)

  3. Canada (4,590 jobs, 144 establishments)

  4. Ireland (3,986 jobs, 39 establishments)

  5. France (3,651 jobs, 100 establishments)

NVRC has been pleased to work with our partners at the various economic development agencies in the region to undertake this groundbreaking study. One thing is clear, Foreign Direct Investment is an important element to the region’s economy and the report provides a clear roadmap for future economic growth and purposeful global engagement, said the Honorable John T. Chapman, Chairman of the Northern Virginia Regional Commission and Member of the Alexandria City Council.

International business is vital to the economy of Northern Virginia and this report will help strengthen understanding of this vital dynamic.  This report will be used to inform the development of more strategic searches and applications of foreign investments and innovations from overseas that can support Northern Virginia’s economic growth -especially in those job and industry sectors on which the region’s competitive advantages rest.  

The NVRC looks forward to working with its local governmental partners to periodically refine this study and improve understanding about global activities in Northern Virginia.  NVRC looks forward to exploring ways that global engagement can be applied to benefit the region’s economy, environment and communities.

The full report can be downloaded here:

You can view a map and table of the data by clicking here. You can download an infographic of our study by clicking here.


“This project was funded in part by GO VIRGINIA, a state-funded initiative administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) that strengthens and diversifies Virginia’s economy and fosters the creation of higher wage jobs in strategic industries.”

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