WASHINGTON, DC – Metropolitan Washington has been an economic outlier since the Great Recession hit the United States in 2008. While other regional economies across the country suffered greatly, the steady presence of the federal government shielded metropolitan Washington from the worst effects of the recession.
According to Dr. Stephen Fuller, that trend is changing. During a presentation at the March meeting of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) Board of Directors, Fuller explained that the region, which led the nation in job growth for many of the past few years, is now being outperformed by several metro areas in terms of job growth.
Fuller, of the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University, noted that the impact of the automatic cuts of $1.2 trillion due to the failed Congressional “supercommittee” could throw the region and the nation back into recession.
“Our region’s economy has lost steam and the slowdown is attributable to dysfunction on Capitol Hill,” Fuller noted. Without cooperative action to diversify the region’s economy and reduce its reliance on federal spending and employment, Fuller predicts “very little economic growth in the region over the next decade.” Only three of thirteen job sectors that Fuller studied were projected to experience job growth in the near future: business and professional services, leisure and hospitality, and health and education.
Recognizing the urgency with which this issue must be addressed, the COG Board is overseeing the development of an Economic Growth and Competitiveness Action Plan for metropolitan Washington. Fuller’s presentation was the first in a series of learning sessions the Board is holding prior to releasing the Action Plan this fall.
“Dr. Fuller’s presentation provided us with the essential information we need to develop an Action Plan that will outline what is needed to make sure metropolitan Washington continues to grow and improves upon its already strong economic competitiveness,” said Frank Principi, COG Board Chairman and Prince William County Supervisor.
The learning sessions, which are being held at each of its monthly meetings through July will engage business leaders, federal and state officials, economic development agencies, and other stakeholders.