An ambitious economic development plan called Vision 2040 was finalized in March 2021 that targets eight industry sectors and puts forth strategies to help the U.S. Virgin Islands achieve two macroeconomic goals. The first is to reach full employment by 2030; the second is to achieve economic stability by 2040. Industries tapped to deliver results — with resources and metrics outlined in Vision 2040 — are Agribusiness, Coastal/Ocean Resources, Health Sciences, Light Manufacturing, Professional/Tech Services, Renewable Energy, Research & Development, and Virgin Island-Style Tourism.
Part of what makes Vision 2040 unlike other long-term economic development plans is the significant input of more than 3,000 direct or indirect stakeholders in the plan’s outcome. They participated in a survey, the results of which boil down to this, according to the report: Participants expressed hope that Vision 2040 would position the U.S. Virgin Islands as a vibrant, desirable place to live and visit, and a prosperous business location that is competitive based on its abilities to develop, retain and attract talented workers with creativity and imagination. The chart below forecasts 2040 employment growth in the target sectors.
In 2040, the U.S. Virgin Islands will have a larger and more diverse economy than it does today. By focusing efforts on the targeted industries and goals identified in this strategy, total jobs in the territory could grow by 35% from under 40,000 today to over 52,000 in 2040. In 20 years, the number of jobs would surpass the pre-Great Recession peak, placing the territory on a path toward stable economic growth.
Mark Arend has been editor in chief of Site Selection magazine since 2001. Prior to joining the editorial staff in 1997, he worked for 10 years in New York City at Wall Street Computer Review, ABA Banking Journal and Global Investment Technology. Mark graduated from the University of Hartford (Conn.) in 1985 and lives near Atlanta, Georgia.