Region’s economic future not looking so bright

WASHINGTON — Now that the recession is over, when will the well-paid jobs return to D.C. area? A local economist’s answer is not encouraging.

Stephen Fuller, director of the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University, says it’s going to be less attractive for people come here.

In the near future, graduates and other workers may not be moving to the area simply because the good paying jobs won’t be here to attract them.

“Most of our high-paying jobs were federal government jobs or federal contractor jobs. And both of those categories shrank last year in 2013. We have fewer of those jobs than we used to — about 30,000 fewer — and it’s going to shrink some more,” Fuller says.

He predicts that the next five to 10 years in this area will be difficult because of the lack of high-paying jobs and the area’s high cost of living.

The upside, if you can call it that, is that the D.C. region has added jobs since the recession.

“We’ve added almost four times as many low-paying jobs as we’ve lost.”

He says the growth of high-paying jobs in the area stopped in 2012, and in 2013 it declined.

Middle-income jobs also are at a deficit.

“Those jobs, we haven’t come close to replacing. We’ve lost more than we’ve added back,” Fuller says.

The lack of high-paying jobs also has caused a significant shift in the purchasing power of area residents, he says..

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