Flash Newsletter
May 2015

Dr. Stephen Fuller

"The Washington Area Economy: Repositioning for Renewed Growth"

Dr. Stephen Fuller, Director, Center for Regional Analysis, School of Public Policy, George Mason University

Tracking the impact of changes in federal spending, beginning 30 years ago under the Reagan administration that reduced government employment in favor of privatization, gives pause for understanding today's economies and forecasting the future.  The impact on the availability of jobs, on household income and on housing has only increased during the turmoil of the 2008 recession and the recovery that followed.  Dr. Fuller, in his remarks and his slides, presented data to support:
* An increase of more than 40,000 private sector jobs
* A decline of value in wages for the first time since WWII
* While the national economy is doing well, DC is lagging behind.  Of 15 major US cities, DC is showing the slowest job market growth.
* Over development resulting in a high vacancy rate in office buildings
* DC has evolved from being a knowledge sector, to a knowledge economy.

These and additional data demonstrates that the federal government is no longer driving the economy.  The private sector must now do that.  We're already beginning to see the increase in the demand for professional business services, bio informatics, health care and health-related legal services.  In these it appears that suburban Montgomery County has an advantage over the northern Virginia counties.  With an increase in lower-paying jobs in these areas, there comes a need for more multi-unit construction.  Other businesses need to ask: where will these residents work?  What services and products will they need?  What will be their buying power?

For more numbers, comparisons and talking points, please see here