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Washington D.C. Government Jobs Could Grow During Recession

Posted on October 15, 2008

While the current possibility of an economic recession has many Americans losing sleep, a new study finds that a recession could actually result in more Washington D.C. government jobs.

Many Americans, whether tied to Wall Street or not, are worried about their futures as 401K plans are unstable, foreclosures are abundant and both big cities and small towns are trying to adapt to this new market. Businessweek recently published an article on a study it completed, with data from PolicyMap, to determine the best places to live during a recession. In most of these places, the majority of the population works in government, healthcare, education, agriculture and legal services.

Washington D.C.
came in as the second best place to live during a recession, behind Arlington, Va. In recent months, the economy has continued to add more jobs to Washington’s workforce.

The federal government employs many residents in Washington, while the scene keeps lawyers, lobbyists, accountants and journalists busy. The government also adds money to the region through outsourcing jobs and multimillion-dollar contracts to companies such as Bethesda., Md. aerospace contractor Lockheed Martin.

While D.C. hasn’t enjoyed the same Wall Street culture of New York City, the capital has now become a hub for companies that do defense and homeland security work in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

“We don’t have a Wall Street,” Stephen Fuller, director of the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University, said in the article. “When there’s a crisis like this, the Fed goes out and hires a bunch of people to help out. I suspect they’ll bring Wall Street guys to Washington and put them up in hotels or empty office buildings and put them to work.”

The study notes that government towns tend to be relatively stable because even as budgets are cut, the public sector still must pay the salaries of politicians, building inspectors, police officers, military personnel and tax-authority employees. Cities that the study suggests might benefit from government employment include Chesapeake, Va., near Norfolk Naval base, and the state capitals of Baton Rouge, La.; Lincoln, Neb.; and Madison, Wis.

Towns with high education employment also came in as top places to live, including Durham, N.C.; Irvine, Ca.; Baltimore; Boston; Philadelphia and Seattle. Towns with many residents working in healthcare also received high spots on the list, including Buffalo; Durham, N.C.; Lubbock, Tex.; Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

The cities on the top of the list expected to see problems include California, Florida and Nevada with high numbers of foreclosures; New York and Chicago with many financial jobs and other manufacturing towns.

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