An update on Greater Washington’s economy

In remarks delivered today, George Mason University Center for Regional Analysis economist, Stephen Fuller, warned that the Greater Washington region’s economy could be at risk if a lack of cooperation and government-related business diversification continues. The region’s addition of low-paying jobs is driving median household incomes downward (WBJ, 1/15):

The region is adding more low-paying jobs than high-paying jobs – an alarm Fuller has sounded several times recently. Here’s the math, taken from his presentation: From August 2008 through February 2010 the region lost 177,700 jobs worth $28.4 billion to the regional economy. From August 2008 through November the region gained 242,400 jobs worth $27.4 billion. That leaves a gap of more than $983 million.

The region is adding more leisure and hospitality jobs than professional and business services positions. The result? Average wages have declined the last three years in a row. Median household income has dropped by nearly $2,300 since 2009 in 2013 dollars.

– Much like nearby jurisdictions before them, local legislators in Fairfax County are advocating for a higher minimum wage to combat income inequality. With such varying unemployment rates throughout the state, officials contemplate whether it makes more sense to allow localities to opt in to a higher minimum wage through public referendum. (Fairfax Times, 1/12)

– Should Cities Have a Different Minimum Wage Than Their State? (Atlantic, 1/15)

DISTRICT | The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy has released their 2015 report, Who Pays? A Distributional Analysis of the Tax System in All 50 States, including findings for D.C. The report shows that progress has been made toward making the D.C. system one in which taxes for low-income residents are close to being the lowest in the nation (only behind Delaware) and includes recommendations for ensuring the District gets there. (DCFPI, 1/14)

MARYLAND | Officials in Prince George’s County say that thanks to stronger coordination and partnerships, crime has dropped considerably in the area over the past four years. Homicides have dropped by 40 percent, while violent crime has fallen by 36 percent. (WaPo, 1/13)

BUDGETTransportation, Education Could Be Big Sticking Points for Hogan’s Budget (WAMU, 1/15)

– The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy has begun seeking nominations for this year’s 2015 Impact Awards. Four foundations will be honored in four categories: Large Private Foundation, Small/Mid-size Foundation, Corporate Foundation and Grantmaking Public Charity. Last year, the Hill-Snowdon Foundation was honored as a Mid-sized Private Foundation.

– Opinion: As Donors, We Need to End Our Stinginess and Dysfunctional Behavior – Subscription required (Chronicle, 1/14)

HEALTH | Though medical care remains a severe cost burden for many American families, a recent survey has found that there has been a significant decline in the number of people who experience financial distress over medical bills and who are avoiding visits to the doctor due to financial concerns. (NYT, 1/15)

What do you think of this morning’s Academy Award Nominations? Bleh!


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