Maryland May Usurp Virginia as Economic Driver and Other 2015 Economists’ Predictions

Economists shared their predictions for the year ahead in the Washington metro region and suburban Maryland received a favorable forecast for possibly usurping Northern Virginia as the economic driver for the region. As reported in the Washington Post:

The largest defense contractors have traditionally been based in Northern Virginia, which has long reaped the benefits of robust government spending and boasted some of the wealthiest counties in the country.

But as federal dollars dry up and the effects of sequestration continue to ripple throughout the region, Fuller says this may be an opportunity for suburban Maryland — with its focus on health, biotechnology and education — to outpace others in terms of economic growth. According to some projections, Fuller says this could happen as early as 2017.

Suburban Maryland “doesn’t have the pull-back from federal contracting” that Northern Virginia does, he said. “Northern Virginia has gotten half of all federal contracting in the last 35 years, so they felt [federal budget cuts] the hardest. They’ve shrunk the most, so they’re carrying more baggage and the drag is higher.”

In addition, the federal agencies that are based in Maryland — the Food and Drug Administration, National Institutes of Health, and National Institute of Standards and Technology, among others — tend to be less dependent on defense spending and more likely to benefit from government investments in technology and cybersecurity.

A look at the Gross Regional Product of the Washington metropolitan area compared with the GRP of the individual regions within the Washington metropolitan area. (Capital Business/Source: GMU Center for Regional Analysis)
A look at the Gross Regional Product of the Washington metropolitan area compared with the GRP of the individual regions within the Washington metropolitan area. (Capital Business/Source: GMU Center for Regional Analysis)

Economists also shared their thoughts on the region’s job growth prospects, average wage decline, and federal spending. For more information read the full article in the Washington Post.

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