Washington DC grows while the rest of the country is in the Great Recession. From Joel Kotkin in Forbes.
Boom times in the capital — particularly amidst a weak recovery elsewhere — are driving this growth. Since 2007, notes Stephen Fuller at George Mason University, the D.C. region’s economy has expanded 14 percent compared to a mere 3 percent for the rest of the country. Washington’s unemployment never scaled over 7 percent, well below the national average, and is now down to around 5.5 percent, about the lowest of any major metropolitan area. Unemployment of course is much higher, reaching 25 percent, in some of the district’s poorer neighborhoods.
This prosperity is rooted largely in the steady growth of the federal workforce, as federal spending accounts for one-third of the region’s economy. Over the past decade 50,000 bureaucratic jobs have been added in the area while local federal spending grew 166 percent. The D.C. region, with but 5 percent of the nation’s population, garners more than three times that percentage in payroll and more than four times that percentage in procurement dollars.