Report signals slower growth in DC economy

The D.C. region’s economic growth is slowing down, but not reversing just yet, according to a report by George Mason University’s Stephen S. Fuller Institute.

To get a grip on what’s going on and how to fix it, What’s Working in Washington sat down with Andy Medici, business reporter for the Washington Business Journal.

“If we don’t do more now, we’re going to find ourselves in a tougher spot down the road,” said Medici....

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The D.C. region’s economic growth is slowing down, but not reversing just yet, according to a report by George Mason University’s Stephen S. Fuller Institute.

To get a grip on what’s going on and how to fix it, What’s Working in Washington sat down with Andy Medici, business reporter for the Washington Business Journal.

“If we don’t do more now, we’re going to find ourselves in a tougher spot down the road,” said Medici. The D.C. region ranks last in economic growth among the country’s top 15 metropolitan areas, according to the report.

The fact that the economy is still growing makes it tough for businesses in the area to take the report to heart. “They see new buildings going up, they see businesses going in, and they don’t see anything wrong,” said Medici. Despite appearances, problems are starting to grow.

The most important part of driving more economic growth, said Medici, is adding more high-paying jobs to the economy.

“We haven’t added as many of those ever since the federal government stopped spending as much, so instead we’ve seen a lot more hospitality jobs and retail jobs,” he said.

However, it’s not all bad news. The market for financing startups and other small businesses is steadily growing.

“Greater Washington’s had a great quarter, more than $400 million in investments… that was driven in a large part by the $190 million brought in by the education technology company EverFi,” said Medici.

“I think it’s tempting to dismiss these as outlier deals, these large deals… and I hesitate to do that only because other regions don’t,” he said.

Instead of considering them flukes, Medici said businesses should take advantage of the momentum. “After all, they were products of the ecosystem. And if we’re trying to look and see what the ecosystem is doing, those mega-deals play a large role.”

For entrepreneurs in the tech industry there are a number of ways to follow the flow of venture capital funding.

“I think in greater Washington, at least, there’s a lot of emphasis on artificial intelligence, on machine learning, using those to make some of those complicated decisions… I also think that one area D.C. doesn’t get enough credit for, but it’s slowly growing, is virtual reality,” said Medici.

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