These statistics add up to the fact that Virginia has the eighth lowest unemployment rate in the nation and the Richmond metropolitan area has the third lowest rate of the 49 largest metropolitan areas in the United States (Blackwell, 2007). Anyone considering locating in Virginia can have some confidence that they will meet an expanding labor market.
When it comes to finding a job, along with a degree or a professional diploma the job seeker will need to possess the desired workplace skills. A recent study by The Conference Board titled "Are They Really Ready to Work" outlined the qualities that potential employers look for in their applicants. The report pointed out that while the 3Rs (reading, writing, and arithmetic) are still important, there are other traits that are just as necessary. Oral communications, teamwork, ethics, and critical thinking were at the top of the list of skills needed to succeed in today's workplace. Leadership was also cited by 81.8 percent as "very important for new entrants with a four-year college diploma" (p.14). While a four-year diploma has become almost mandatory for any position in the economy, employers are finding that many degree holders do not measure up.