|A DC Story|
|Topic||Aggregate Demand/Aggregate Supply|
|Key Words||Gross Domestic Product, Exports, Imports|
The U.S. economy is composed of many smaller, regional economies. These regions "trade" with other regions in a myriad of ways. Exports from the regions cause money inflows and provide a stimulus to the local economy. Imports are a drain on local resources. While the U.S. economy has grown remarkably over the last several years, not all regions have had the same experience. The Washington D.C. region has had a higher rate of job growth and a lower unemployment rate than the nation as a whole in the past few years. The reason for this performance has to do with the kinds of goods that it trades.
The Washington area's primary industries are tourism, technology and federal contracts. Visitors bring about $6 billion a year into the region. Federal contracts amount to $25 billion in increased economic activity. The infusion of federal dollars, especially in the area of national defense, led to the development of an information technology industry in the area. Sales of this industry's products bring dollars and jobs to the region.
Whether there will be an economic slowdown is both a local and national concern. Tourism in Washington may actually pick up if there is a national slowdown, as families substitute domestic and closer vacations for farther or foreign ones. Another source of continued stimulus is Federal contracts that are projected to increase in the next year. On the other hand, interest rate hikes are causing consumers to cancel or delay purchases. The recent fall in stock prices has also had an impact. Home sales in some parts of the region are below last year's level. Decreased sales result in fewer employment opportunities and this, in turn, reduces income and sales elsewhere. Whether the D.C. area is immune from an economic slowdown depends on the net effect of the money inflows and drains.
(Updated July 1, 2000)
|Source||Peter Behr, "A Region With An Edge," The Washington Post, June 9, 2000.|
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