Economic Impact: Virginia receives a grant to create a Defense Department contract spending impact tool

Virginia’s dependence on defense contracts puts it in both an enviable and awkward position. It’s enviable because firms in the state received more revenue from defense contracts performed than any other state, except California, in the federal fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 2017. It’s awkward because with 4.4 percent of Virginia’s gross domestic product dependent on defense contracts, the state’s economy can take a hit during defense downsizing — as it did in 2013. During that year, employment stalled in Virginia and grew only 0.7 percent, compared with 1.6 percent growth nationally.

Economic Impact: What occupations should have the smallest student loan default rate?

Colleges and universities offering programs that lead to careers in occupations that are relatively high-paying and have low unemployment tend to have lower student loan default rates. Some of the top “low-default occupations” for jobs that typically require an associate’s degree theoretically would be dental hygienists and respiratory therapists.