Study: The Washington D.C. Metro Area Defies U.S. Economic Statistics
Researchers say the nation's capital is booming on the business front
Monday, September 17, 2012
With all of its dissension and petty bickering, who would have thought the nation’s capital would have the strongest business growth in the United States?
A recent study conducted by The Kauffman Foundation showed the Washington D.C. metropolitan area has the highest number of successfully growing businesses in the nation.
D.C. also has the biggest number of Inc. firms per capita, due to the fact that many companies in the area conduct business with the federal government. Thanks, taxpayers. Keep sending money.
“There are probably a few reasons the region tops the list,” said Kauffman’s Director, Dane Stangler. “But most roads lead back to the federal government. Despite all the talk about downsizing and shrinking, the fact is the government expanded under Bush, then again under Clinton, then again under Bush, and now again under Obama, and that creates more opportunities for companies in and around Washington,” he said in a published interview.
About 46 percent of Washington D.C. area businesses deal in government services, shows the study.
Parties don't matter much
The report also indicates regardless of which political party is in the White House, the nation’s capital has seen a consistent amount of high business growth within the last 20 years, with one-third of that growth coming from increases in defense spending, as a good portion of companies in the Washington D.C. area provide a bevy of military and intelligence essentials.
Most of the companies dealing in government services are based in the nearby area of northern Virginia as opposed to being directly in Washington D.C., the report shows.
Researchers also found that Washington D.C. was the first major metro area to recover from the recent housing crisis, and the consistent amount of jobs opportunities are also connected to the federal government.
Perhaps not surprising, D.C., Maryland and northern Virginia had the highest ratio of government jobs in the continental 48 states. Baltimore also benefits from the same opportunities, as 16.3 percent of jobs in that small Maryland city are attached to government services.
However, the federal government isn’t the only source of company growth and gainful employment, as other industries also continue to thrive in the D.C. metro area.
IT companies, Business Services, and Human Resource companies are too on an upward trajectory, shows the report. Strangler also noted that bio-med and life-science companies are increasing in both size and muscle in the D.C region.
Although Washington D.C. IT firms are on an upswing, the usual kings of technological development are still cities like San Francisco, as it has a 23.2 percent ratio of IT firms in its metro area.
Other cities in the U.S. that boast a strong amount of IT businesses are New York and Los Angeles at 18.8 percent, Atlanta at 17.3 percent and Chicago with 12.9 percent.
And not only has D.C. become a reputable force in the area of business development, it’s also become the most popular city to move to, according to a report from the moving company United Van Lines.
Between the peak moving season of May 1 to Aug 31 there were 2,134 moves to the nation’s capital in that time period. According to Van Lines that number is up from last year when 2,098 moving trips were made into Washington D.C.
“With the economic downturn in the whole economy and Washington being one of the largest of the 50 [states] with the lowest unemployment rate, it has been attractive for people to come here,” Peter Chinloy, told the Washington Post in an interview.
Chinloy is a professor at American University’s Kogod School of Business.
“When times get tough, people tend to move to Washington, and then when times get good, they tend to move out of Washington,” he said. The United Van Lines report also showed that D.C. led the nation in the amount of people leaving the city at 1,774 this summer season. Go figure.