The U.S. economy continues its recovery from the steep recession of several years ago, but Northern Virginia’s economic prospects are making only anemic progress because of reduced federal spending and replacement of high-paying jobs with ones of lesser earning power.
“There’s nothing driving growth,” lamented Stephen Fuller, director of George Mason University’s Center for Regional Analysis. “There’s nothing dynamic or dramatic. We have lagged.”
Fuller delivered his remarks Aug. 21 at Capital One headquarters in McLean.
The federal economic-stimulus package implemented early in President Obama’s first term strengthened the U.S. economy, Fuller said. Northern Virginia’s unemployment rate of 4.5 percent is well below the 6.1-percent national average, but all the signs are not rosy.
Increased federal spending spared Northern Virginia the full brunt of the recession, but now the U.S. government is cutting back and the local region is feeling the pinch, he said.
“It’s now an albatross,” Fuller said of Northern Virginia’s dependence on federal spending. “It’s not helping a bit.”
The private sector now will have to build upon the region’s unique assets and drive the economy, Fuller said.
“We need to expand our markets and become more competitive,” he said. “We need to know how to compete where we can.”
Four years ago, the Washington region had the nation’s best economic prospects; now it’s on the bottom of the list. The region has lost 21,000 federal jobs since the recession and likely will lose another 20,000 in the next several years, Fuller predicted. . . .Click here for the rest of this article.
Please note that this assessment comes from the same GMU center that prepared job and population growth assessments for the Dullles Corridor in the midst of the Great Recession (which it ignored) that guided the Tysons and Reston re-planning efforts. Those forecasts presented off-the-charts demand-driven economic growth for the next 30 years along the corridor. Apparently, that's not going to happen after all.
Credibility and consistency are not a strength at developer-funded GMU CRA, including the substantial financial backing of the developer consortium The 2030 Group.