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. 10 – October 2019
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The Economy Continues To Expand But Its Future Trend Remains Uncertain
In August, the Coincident Index registered a second consecutive strong gain while the Leading Index declined reversing its strong one-month gain in July. The volatile pattern of the Leading Index, combined with the moderation in the growth rate of the Coincident Index, suggests that region’s economic performance this year will not exceed its performance in 2018 as had been projected at the beginning of the year and that slower growth is likely to continue into 2020. Even if there is an agreement on FY 2020 appropriations funding by November 21st, when the Continuing Resolution expires, its promised higher federal spending levels will not have time to benefit this year’s performance although would boost growth in 2020. In the absence of the appropriations legislation by November 21st, the region’s economy remains vulnerable to further slowing going forward.


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. 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