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The City of Norfolk is an optimal location for today’s manufacturers. The City’s skilled workforce, transportation infrastructure, and business-friendly cost structure appeal to manufacturing companies across various industries

The City of Norfolk has a long and proud history in the shipbuilding and repair industry due to its deep-water harbor, proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, and high concentration of marine engineers, naval architects and various skilled tradespersons.

The City benefits from a highly skilled workforce due to the presence of several world-renowned shipyards located in the region, including Colonna’s Shipyard, Lyon Shipyard, Norfolk Naval Shipyard and Huntington Ingalls Industries, America’s largest military shipbuilding company which employs approximately 25,000 people. Norfolk is also home to the largest Navy base in the world, which provides a steady stream of qualified maritime workers every year, when active-duty personnel choose to exit the military and join the private sector. Norfolk is also strong in industries that support and are supply chains for the shipbuilding industry, such as durable goods wholesalers, machine shops and metal furniture manufacturing.

The City has strengths in other manufacturing industries such as air and gas compressors, commercial screen printing and is attractive to other manufacturers in a variety of fields due to its prime location in the Mid-Atlantic and its distribution network.

Competitive Advantages:


  • Strategic central east coast location offers logistical advantages for the movement of goods
  • Region is within a two-day truck drive of approximately 70% of the U.S. population
  • Accessible transportation infrastructure including the state-of-the-art Port of Virginia
  • Hampton Roads is located within a Foreign-Trade-Zone

Employer Costs:

  • Workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance are among the lowest in the nation
  • The unemployment tax burden is approximately 58% of the national average
  • Dominion Virginia power offers affordable industrial electricity rates (6.21 cents/kilowatt)
  • No tax on manufacturer’s inventory

Labor Force:

  • Over 41,000 people are employed in production occupations in Hampton Roads
  • Numerous workforce development programs are in place to assist manufacturers in accessing a skilled workforce
  • Virginia is an “at will” and “right-to-work” state
  • Numerous relevant educational programs via the local 4-year universities, community colleges, and trade schools to ensure access to highly trained talent and upgrade the skills of your workforce

Offshore Wind Power and Energy

Advanced Manufacturing in Norfolk: Jobs, Earnings, and Businesses

Advanced Manufacturing in Norfolk- By Industry

Source: Lightcast Q1 2024 Data Set. *NAICS Code: North American Industrial Classification System Code. NAICS was originally developed to provide a consistent framework for the collection, analysis, and dissemination of industrial statistics used by government policy analysts, by academics and researchers, by the business community, and by the public.

Key Employers in the Advanced Manufacturing Industry in Norfolk

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Source: Lightcast Q1 2024 Data Set