Employment Clusters

Diversification makes the local economy less vulnerable to adverse conditions or unexpected developments occurring in only one sector.  Therefore, economic development efforts need to continually be reassessed with every locality having a coordinated economic strategy to stay current with the changing world economy.  Southern Virginia’s economic development strategy needs to strengthen existing economic clusters and target new growing employment sectors, continue efforts to attract new industries and promote business expansion, and further develop programs directed at increasing employment skills and knowledge, in order to reduce unemployment and increase the demand for local labor. 

The infrastructure necessary to attract these industries is available but needs to be continually maintained and expanded.  Land, pad ready sites, shell buildings, broadband, rail, gas, water, sewer, and transportation are all integral components to attracting employment clusters. Marketing efforts need to continue to highlight the quality of life and significant infrastructure in Southern Virginia. 

In 2013, Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI) produced an Industry Cluster Analysis for the Southside Planning District as a part of Virginia’s Growth Alliance. The analysis demonstrates how each industry is placed in terms of level of specialty and growth levels. This type of information can help economic development leaders deter­mine how to best use their resources to aid in job creation and in increasing the sustainability and diversity of the regional economy.


Mature Industries (low growth, high level of specialization):


  • Apparel & Textiles

  • Chemicals & Chemical Based Products

  • Energy (Fossil & Renewable)

  • Forest & Wood Products

  • Glass & Ceramics


Transforming Industries (low growth, low level of specialization):


  • Advanced Materials

  • Agribusiness, Food Processing, & Technology

  • Arts, Entertainment, Recreation, & Visitor Industries

  • Business & Financial Services

  • Defense & Security

  • Education & Knowledge Creation

  • Mining

  • Computer & Electronic Product Manufacturing

  • Primary Metal Manufacturing



Emerging Industries (high growth, low level of specialization):


  • Information Technology & Telecommunications

  • Manufacturing Supercluster

  • Printing & Publishing

  • Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing


Stars (high growth, high level of specialization):


  • Biomedical/Biotechnical (Life Sciences)

  • Transportation & Logistics

  • Electrical Equipment, Appliance, & Component Manufacturing

Southside Planning District Commission

200 S. Mecklenburg Ave. South Hill, Virginia 23970

(434) 447-7101 www.southsidepdc.org