The Washington Region’s Economy in 2017 & Outlook for 2018 & Beyond

The Washington region’s economy outperformed its beginning-of-the-year forecast in 2017 growing at an estimated 2.1 percent and improving significantly on its 1.1 percent gain in 2016. While still not outperforming the national economy (GDP), the region’s economy has recovered sufficiently to closely mirror the current and projected near-term performance of the U.S. economy.

In spite of the uncertainty introduced into the region’s economic equation by the new Trump Administration with its threats of “draining the swamp” and “shutting the government down might be good for the economy,” and proposing to shift significant budget resources from domestic agencies (and closing more than 30 smaller federal agencies) to the departments of Defense and Homeland Security, the actual negative impacts of the Trump Administration have been difficult to measure beyond the modest loss of federal jobs during the second half of 2017. The new Administration’s positive impacts (indirect) have included accelerated job growth in the region’s business and leisure travel and advocacy clusters and a stronger national economy that has bolstered the regional economy with rising consumer confidence, increased personal income, growth of corporate income and increased foreign trade.

Most Read of 2017

The Stephen S. Fuller Institute has been busy since launching in February 2017. In case you missed any of our most read reports and blogs, our top five are below.

Domestic Migration by Occupation

Between 2013 and 2015, the greater Washington region gained 108,000 workers per year from elsewhere in the U.S. During the same period, the region lost 121,200 workers who moved out of the region to other parts of the nation. An analysis of these movers by industry is available on page 35 of Migration in the Washington Region: Trends between 2000 and 2015 and Characteristics of Recent Migrants released in September 2017. This blog post explores what occupations these workers held and is adapted from the Schar School Stat that ran in the Dec. 1, 2017 edition of the Washington Business Journal.

Schar School Stat: Employment (Temporary) Service Jobs

This piece ran in the Washington Business Journal in the Nov. 25, 2017 edition. Between October 2016 and October 2017, the number of jobs in the Employment Service sub-sector decreased by 1,200 jobs in the Washington region.

The Slowdown in Payroll Job Growth Continues in October

Between October 2016 and October 2017, the Washington region added 46,400 payroll jobs. Monthly over-the-year gains in the region have slowed since peaking in July 2017. October followed September’s trends and gains this fall were relatively weaker than during the summer in the Education Services and Entertainment sub-sectors.