Washington Economy Watch provides local business and government leaders with a consistent analysis of Greater Washington’s regional economy to ensure they are equipped with the information needed to make informed decisions regarding the future development of the region’s economy.


Washington Economy Watch

Following the onset of a recession in July of 1990, a region-specific early warning analytical framework was developed to ensure public and private sectors leaders could better anticipate changes in the direction of the local economy. The Washington Economic Index has been calculated each month since February 1991 and reflects an underlying data base that dates back to 1978.

The Washington Economic Index is the only metropolitan–level Index (consisting of Leading and Coincident Indices).

The Washington Leading Index forecasts the performance of the metropolitan area economy six to eight months in advance based on a combination of regional indicators, including unemployment, consumer expectations, retail spending, and residential building permits.

The Washington Coincident Index represents the current state of the metropolitan area economy based on a combination of regional indicators, including wage and salary employment, consumer confidence, retail sales, and domestic passenger volume.

Each month, The Stephen S. Fuller Institute will report on the status of these key indicators to ensure regional leaders have the most up-to-date information in regards to the current and near-term performance of the Washington region’s economy.

Understanding Business Cycles and The Washington Economic Index ›


Current Report

Washington Economy Watch
Vol. II, No. 5 – May 2018
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First Quarter Gains Point to Continued Growth for the Washington Region’s Economy

The March 2018 performances of Washington region’s Coincident and Leading Indices continued their respective positive trends from 2017. The Coincident Index registered its strongest gain in March in more than a year and extended the economy’s long-term positive growth trajectory to a 48th month. The Leading Index’s March gain was not as strong as February’s, but like in February, it was broad-based with all four of its components contributing to its gain. The Leading Index’s positive trajectory points to the region’s economic growth continuing at least through the third quarter of 2018. Other forecasts for the Washington region’s economy are pointing to these gains accelerating over the course of this year and possibly becoming stronger in 2019 before moderating in 2020.


More Reports

Washington Index (monthly, 1997 to present)
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Archived Washington Economy Watch Reports (as PDFs)
Washington Economy Watch Vol. II, No. 4 – April 2018
Washington Economy Watch Vol. II, No. 3 – March 2018
Washington Economy Watch Vol. II, No. 2 – February 2018
Washington Economy Watch Vol. II, No. 1 – January 2018
Washington Economy Watch Vol. I, No. 11 – November 2017
Washington Economy Watch Vol. I, No. 10 – October 2017
Washington Economy Watch Vol. I, No. 9 – September 2017
Washington Economy Watch Vol. I, No. 8 – August 2017
Washington Economy Watch Vol. I, No. 7 – July 2017
Washington Economy Watch Vol. I, No. 6 – June 2017
Washington Economy Watch Vol. I, No. 5 – May 2017
Washington Economy Watch Vol. I, No. 4 – April 2017
Washington Economy Watch Vol. I, No. 3 – March 2017
Washington Economy Watch Vol. I, No. 2 – February 2017
Washington Economy Watch Vol. I, No. 1 – January 2017