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. I, No. 11 – November 2017
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The Washington Region’s Economic Expansion Is Showing Signs of Moderating
The Washington Indices continued to move higher in September but their rates of growth moderated for a second month after peaking in July.  The Washington region’s current economic expansion dates from April 2014, following the downturn generated by the Sequester in 2013, and has registered 42 consecutive monthly over-the-year gains through September with the Leading Index pointing to this expansion extending at least through the first quarter of 2018.  However, the slowdown in the performances of both the Leading and Coincident Indices maybe signaling that the year’s stronger growth rate achieved during its first half is moderating during its second half and that economic growth at the beginning of 2018 will be subdued. Looking forward to 2018, the resolution of the federal budget remains the region’s biggest source of economic uncertainty.


More Reports

Washington Index (monthly, 1997 to present)
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Archived Washington Economy Watch Reports (as PDFs)
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