The bottom line: Greater D.C. has evolved into a leading-edge knowledge economy, where private sector knowledge, professional, and creative jobs outnumber direct government jobs. But government remains the central pivot point of the region's knowledge economy, stimulating a wide range of direct and indirect spinoff jobs.Indeed, that second sentence points to the continuing dominance of government in the local technology sector: Virtually all the local "knowledge" companies are involved primarily with contracts with the US Government, primarily Defense Department (where the big bucks are). There are no emerging Googles or Facebooks or Microsofts (much less Apples), although there is a declining AOL, focused on knowledge services for the private sector. Although the entrepreneurial tech spirit is budding here, it is generally far from blossoming as it has in Silicon Valley and elsewhere.
The adverse impact of this one-client technology sector town can be seen clearly in the economic slowdown caused by sequestration and the recent government shutdown had on the area's contractors. Many laid off their employees for the duration of the shutdown. And while government employees received back pay for their layoff period, few of the contractor employees did, cutting significantly into the local economy. Sequestration continues to hurt employment in the technology industry.
So, until we figure out how to be more successfully entrepreneurial in the Washington area "knowledge economy," we will remain highly dependent on the US Government and its contracts as well as its public employment base.
Maybe an emerging Reston urban area can provide a good breeding ground for success entrepreneurial efforts that will serve us locally as well as regionally.
In any event, the article is well worth a read..