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 DC Area Economic Indices

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. 5 – May 2017
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The Washington Region’s Economy Slows in March While Its Outlook Strengthens
The performance of the Leading and Coincident Indices in March, while both positive, began to diverge from their recent trajectories with the current economy slowing while its outlook strengthened. The region’s economy job gains in March slowed from January and February but are still considered strong adding 51,900 net new jobs from March 2016. Other performance indicators registered continuing gains but these were not as strong as in recent months. Offsetting this moderation in the current economic indicators were stronger gains in the economy’s leading indicators.  These have registered three strong monthly increases over the last four months pointing to a likely stronger economic performance for the region’s economy in the third quarter.


More Reports

Washington Index (monthly, 1997 to present)
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Archived Washington Economy Watch Reports
Washington Economy Watch Vol. I, No. 4 – April 2017
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Washington Economy Watch Vol. I, No. 3 – March 2017
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Washington Economy Watch Vol. I, No. 2 – February 2017
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Washington Economy Watch Vol. I, No. 1 – January 2017
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