Of the 3.1 million people employed in the Washington metropolitan area, 450,00 work for the federal government or military. No question, Washington stands to get hammered by sequestration and other budget cuts. But Mark Muro and Jessica Lee with the Brookings Institution argue in “Sequestration Shock: Smart D.C. Metro Will Figure It Out,” that the high education levels of the workforce make the region economically resilient.
Admittedly, government culture is antithetical to the entrepreneurial culture of the private sector. But, they write:
The region has changed a lot in the last decade, with the emergence of a new urban character comprising a huge part of that change. … Washington has gradually become a cool place for smart, well-educated young people to live. As it happens, that turns out to be a vital ingredient for spawning successful new companies, particularly in tech-heavy fields such as “big data,” social media, cloud technology, and app design. That’s why it’s a big deal that new energy and people are beginning to flow through the nascent innovation districts that are emerging on U Street NW, H Street NE, and along the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor. These relatively affordable yet hip neighborhoods are where the future is being figured out.
Big data? Big data? Do we know anyone involved with big data? Perhaps Don Rippert can add his perspective here.
Afterthought: Notice the areas not included in the authors’ appraisal of hip, nascent innovation districts: Tysons, Reston-Herndon, Dulles. Then ask yourself, where is Virginia investing its infrastructure dollars? Just asking…