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. III, No. 4 – April 2019
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The Region’s Economy Slowed in February & Its Outlook Continues to Weaken
The Washington region’s Indices both revealed further weaknesses in February following their December and January performances that had been undercut by the negative effects of the 35-day partial-federal government shutdown. While February weather can often be blamed for the economy’s poor results, several signs of growing economic weakness point to changes in the economy’s underlying conditions. Job growth in February slowed to its lowest rate in almost five years, consumer spending both for durable goods and non-durable goods slowed—this pattern is now in its third month, and consumer confidence, both in the future (expectations) and in the current situation is showing continuing weakness. While these conditions may be temporary, the longer they persist, the more damaging they can be to the economy’s long-term performance.


More Reports

Washington Index (monthly, 1997 to present)
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Archived Washington Economy Watch Reports (as PDFs)
Washington Economy Watch Vol. III, No. 3 – March 2019
Washington Economy Watch Vol. III, No. 2 – February 2019
Washington Economy Watch Vol. III, No. 1 – January 2019
Washington Economy Watch Vol. II, No. 11 – November 2018
Washington Economy Watch Vol. II, No. 10 – October 2018
Washington Economy Watch Vol. II, No. 9 – September 2018
Washington Economy Watch Vol. II, No. 8 – August 2018
Washington Economy Watch Vol. II, No. 7 – July 2018
Washington Economy Watch Vol. II, No. 6 – June 2018
Washington Economy Watch Vol. II, No. 5 – May 2018
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