Sponsored by Cassaday and Company, this 15th Annual Economic Forecast offers not only a picture of what Virginia’s economy will look like in 2015, but also describes the important role in North American energy development. The Commonwealth has finally surpassed its pre-recession peak level of employment, but did so months after the nation. Key sectors, relatively more dependent on Department of Defense spending, are likely being impacted by federal spending cuts. Meanwhile, Virginia is in position to serve as a vital connection between domestic energy production and exports to European/Asian markets through its port — one of only two East Coast ports currently equipped for larger ships. With its close proximity to shale gas reserves and recent approval by the federal government to allow for energy exploration off the Atlantic coast, Virginia is poised to become “the energy capital of the East Coast” in the long term.