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. V, No. 6 – September 2021
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The region’s economic recovery continued to weaken in July 2021, after slowing in June 2021. The Coincident Index decreased 1.6 percent between June 2021 and July 2021 for its second consecutive month-to-month decline. The Coincident Index increased 14.6 percent compared to July 2020 but remained 5.6 percent smaller than its July 2019 reading. The moderation in current economic conditions was the result of a decline in domestic air passenger volume and weakness in non-durable goods retail sales and employment. Similarly, the Leading Index decreased 2.2 percent between June 2021 and July 2021 for its fourth consecutive month-to-month decline. The Leading Index increased 0.8 percent from July 2020 but decreased 2.5 percent from July 2019. All four of the components in the Leading Index moderated compared to their spring 2021 levels. Preliminary data for August and September suggest that the slowdown in current growth continued.


More Reports

Washington Index (monthly, 1997 to present)
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Archived Washington Economy Watch Reports (as PDFs)
Washington Economy Watch Vol. V, No. 5 – August 2021
Washington Economy Watch Vol. V, No. 4 – 2Q 2021
Washington Economy Watch Vol. V, No. 3 – March 2021
Washington Economy Watch Vol. V, No. 2 – February 2021
Washington Economy Watch Vol. V, No. 1 – January 2021
Washington Economy Watch Vol. IV, No. 10 – Nov/Dec 2020
Washington Economy Watch Vol. IV, No. 9 – Sep/Oct 2020
Washington Economy Watch Vol. IV, No. 8 – August 2020
Washington Economy Watch Vol. IV, No. 7 – July 2020
Washington Economy Watch Vol. IV, No. 6 – June 2020
Washington Economy Watch Vol. IV, No. 5 – May 2020
Washington Economy Watch Vol. IV, No. 4 – April 2020
Washington Economy Watch Vol. IV, No. 3 – March 2020
Washington Economy Watch Vol. IV, No. 2 – February 2020
Washington Economy Watch Vol. IV, No. 1 – January 2020
Washington Economy Watch Vol. III, No. 11 – November 2019
Washington Economy Watch Vol. IV, No. 1 – January 2020
Washington Economy Watch Vol. III, No. 11 – November 2019
Washington Economy Watch Vol. III, No. 10 – October 2019
Washington Economy Watch Vol. III, No. 8 – August 2019
Washington Economy Watch Vol. III, No. 9 – September 2019
Washington Economy Watch Vol. III, No. 8 – August 2019
Washington Economy Watch Vol. III, No. 7 – July 2019
Washington Economy Watch Vol. III, No. 6 – June 2019
Washington Economy Watch Vol. III, No. 5 – May 2019
Washington Economy Watch Vol. III, No. 4 – April 2019
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