Federal Spending Saves Region from Recession

Federal spending in the Washington metropolitan area rose to $79.2 billion in the federal fiscal year 2001, up 6 percent from 2000. The above-average growth, which outpaced the region’s 20-year annual average gain of 4 percent for federal outlays, kept the area’s overall economic growth rate positive at an estimated 2.2 percent, despite the national recession and the impacts of the September 11th terrorist attack. The Washington and Houston metropolitan areas were the only two of the ten largest metropolitan areas that had a net average annual job growth in 2001. It also enjoyed the lowest unemployment rate. With the expected post-September 11th surge in federal spending, it seems certain that 2002 will continue to see above average growth in the Washington area.