TYSONS CORNER, Va. – Strong job growth in the Washington area’s private sector should help communities weather the impact of continuing cuts in the federal work force, according to a report released Friday.
Since 1980, roughly nine of every 10 new jobs in the region were created in the private sector, said Stephen S. Fuller, a professor of public policy at George Mason University and author of the study.
This “gives us some measure of how resilient our economy is,” he said.
The findings of the study, commissioned by the Greater Washington Board of Trade, come at a time when the federal government is intent on eliminating jobs.
The Clinton administration announced in 1993 that it hoped to eliminate more than 250,000 government positions by fiscal year 1999.
Last year, more than 11,000 federal jobs in the region were cut as part of the administration’s plan to “reinvent” government, the study said.
In the next four years, the region will shed another 21,900 to 40,800 federal jobs, Fuller said.
But in the next four years, the private sector is projected to add 322,500 jobs in the region, resulting in an overall gain of nearly 11 percent, the study said.
The region is defined as the District; Calvert, Charles, Frederick, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in Maryland; and the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas and Manassas Park in Virginia. It also includes the Virginia counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William and Stafford.
Job gains in state and local government are also projected to offset losses at the federal level, the study said.
While federal jobs have been declining, federal spending in the region has not, the study said.
Federal spending in suburban Maryland – for purchases of goods and services and research and development – increased by nearly 108 percent from 1984 to 1994, according to the survey.
During the same period, federal spending increased by nearly 128 percent in the District and 147 percent in Northern Virginia, the study showed.