Growth by the Numbers

You've seen the bulldozers turning pastures into housing developments. You've noticed the construction that has closed lanes on the Dulles Greenway. But you still need evidence that Loudoun is the fastest-growing county in Northern Virginia.

Then check out the Loudoun County Department of Economic Development's annual Growth Summary, which outlines economic trends.

Highlights from the report, which was released Monday, include:

* Loudoun's population grew 41 percent from 2001 to 2004. It was the fastest-growing county in the nation with a population of more than 100,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The county's population rose from 211,146 in 2003 to 229,429 in 2004.

* The number of jobs in Loudoun has increased 139 percent over the past decade. From 2003 to 2004, the total grew from 104,514 to 112,187, a 7.3 percent jump.

* The average household income in Loudoun was $104,757 in 2004 compared with $84,857 nationwide, $88,236 in Virginia, $108,146 in Fauquier County, $125,615 in Arlington County and $152,781 in Fairfax County.

* The occupancy rate at Loudoun hotels rose 14 percent, from 59.9 percent in 2003 to 68.3 percent in 2004.

* The number of vacant offices in the county decreased from 16.3 percent in 2003 to 12.8 percent in 2004.

Want more numbers -- and proof of Loudoun's growth? The complete report can be found at www.loudoun.gov/business/growth.

From Loudoun and Back

Dulles-based rocket maker Orbital Sciences Corp. said a satellite launch was scratched last week in French Guiana, an overseas department of France on the northern coast of South America.

Orbital had planned to launch the satellite for an Indonesian telecommunications company, but a power supply problem was detected.

Orbital's solution? Ship the satellite back to its satellite manufacturing facility in Dulles.

"While this action will result in additional work to be performed on the satellite and a delay in its launch, these concerns are secondary to delivering a highly reliable satellite for our customer," Ali Atia, president of Orbital's communications satellite unit, said in a news release.

Orbital, which was founded in 1982, reached a milestone June 2 when it delivered its 500th space and launch system. Orbital said 342 of those deliveries were made over the past 10 years.

On May 26, federal agents raided Orbital's facilities in Dulles and Chandler, Ariz., as part of an investigation the company said was focusing on "contracting procedures" related to "certain U.S. government launch vehicle programs." The probe is being led by the U.S. attorney's office in Phoenix, which has declined comment. Orbital says it doesn't think it did anything wrong.

Surprise! Home Prices Up

Is there any end in sight?

The average sales price of a house and condominium in Northern Virginia, including Loudoun and Fauquier counties, jumped to $500,476 in May.

That was 23.4 percent higher than in May 2004, when the average sales price was $405,639, according to the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors.

More houses and condos are selling, too. The number of units sold in May was 3,045, 5 percent higher than a year ago.

Fasten Your Funny Bone

Independence Air has signed comedian Richard Lewis, a regular on CBS's "Late Night With David Letterman" and NBC's "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno," to narrate some of its humorous celebrity safety announcements. The Dulles-based low-cost carrier also has signed comedian Dave George and actress Allison Janney ("The West Wing"). They are replacing singer Chuck Berry, soccer star Mia Hamm, comedian Dennis Miller and political commentators James Carville and Mary Matalin on the taped pre-flight announcements.

-- BILL BRUBAKER

Have news about a business in Loudoun County? Send an e-mail to brubaker@washpost.com.