Business Matters

Fuller delivers update on region’s economic future

In the face of decreasing federal spending and the damage inflicted by the 2013 budget sequestration, the 2030 Group of business leaders in the Washington, D.C., region called on George Mason University economist Stephen S. Fuller to lead a research team to study ways to spur economic growth.

The report, “Roadmap for the Washington Region’s Future Economy,” delivered in early 2015, provided welcome insight. Fuller, who last year founded Mason’s Stephen S. Fuller Institute for Research on the Washington Region’s Economic Future, continues to update the Roadmap as the national and regional economic landscape continues to evolve.

Highlights from the 2018 edition of the Roadmap include:

  • The uncertainty and threats of the Trump administration did not impact the Washington region’s economy in a negative way during 2017. Only federal employment appears to have been negatively affected in the second half of the year, with total federal employment ending the year at about the same level as it was at the beginning of the year. Still, while the region experienced faster growth than in 2016, it lagged behind the U.S. economy’s performance.
  • Job growth in the Washington region exceeded beginning-of-the-year projections but has continued to become more specialized. The region’s principal sectors—professional and business services, education and health services, and leisure and hospitality services— accounted for a disproportional share of the net new jobs added in 2017.
  • U.S. economic expansion is likely to continue through 2018, but some wonder how long it can be sustained. The international and national political forces at play in the global economy over the next 18 months bear ongoing monitoring in order to be protected against the downside of the business cycle.
  • The outlook for 2018 is for stronger economic growth than achieved in 2017 in both the U.S. and Washington region’s economies.

Fuller will deliver a complete Roadmap update, as well as a five-year forecast for the region, during the 26th annual regional economic conference on Jan. 18 at the Fairview Park Marriott in Falls Church, Va.

Terry Clower, director of Mason’s Center for Regional Analysis, will provide an analysis—and predictions—of international and national economic issues and their impacts on the local economy.

Both are on the faculty of Mason’s Schar School of Policy and Government.