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The 2017 Jobs Outlook for Washington, D.C.

The 2017 Jobs Outlook for Washington, D.C.

Whether you’re an executive at a Washington, D.C. business in need of a recruitment strategy or a candidate looking for a job, it’s important to understand the realities facing your industry. Here we’ve gathered the most recent news and predictions for hiring and employment in Washington, D.C.:

The Washington metro area has seen growth in private sector jobs over the past few years, making it less dependent overall upon federal spending. Between 2010 and 2013 the region experienced a decline in U.S. government spending, followed by growth in 2014 and a decline once more in 2015.1

The region’s total employment grew by 0.3 percent in December 2016 with employers filling 2,100 new positions. The leisure and hospitality industry experienced the strongest growth with the addition of 1,100 jobs. The professional and business services industry grew by 900 jobs in December, while the government sector grew by 500 jobs.2

With the U.S. government as the largest employer in the region, uncertainty surrounds the deep cuts expected in the Trump administration’s pending budget. Federal spending for nondefense programs is expected to decline while funding for military and infrastructure programs and projects is expected to increase.3

Private Sector Job Growth Expected to Continue

Employment in Washington’s private sector grew by 1,600 in December, 2016, and by 11,400 jobs overall last year. This was a stronger showing than in 2015, which saw the addition of 5,500 private sector jobs. Private companies in D.C. increased their payrolls by 18.1 percent (83,000 jobs) since 2010, outpacing the national rate of 14.8 percent for the same time period.4

Unemployment in Arlington County, VA, part of the Washington metropolitan area, was 2.5 percent in December. The District of Columbia’s unemployment rate of 5.8 percent in December was down slightly from November, but was the highest rate in the region and higher than the national average of 4.5 percent.5

Robust Growth in the Tech Industry

A recent $1.2 billion funding deal for Arlington-based satellite provider OneWeb, gave the Washington, D.C. region the largest influx of venture capital in the nation in the final quarter of 2016.6

Arlington-based media startup VideoBlocks is searching for bigger offices to accommodate a growing staff. The company expects to add 150 positions over the next three years.7 IT services firm InfoZen will expand its corporate headquarters in the D.C. suburb of Bethesda, MD in 2017, creating 100 new positions.8  Iomaxis, a technology engineering company, plans to add new facilities to its Fairfax County operations, bringing more than 550 jobs to the D.C. suburb over the next three years.9

Global packaged-food and drink company Nestlé is moving its US headquarters to Arlington County, bringing 750 jobs to the region.10 

Washington, D.C.-area Housing Market:

With mortgage rates rising, many buyers are expected to enter the market to lock in a rate before they go up much higher; the pace of home sales and closings will likely accelerate through 2017 for the same reason. Despite this expected increase in buyers, the housing inventory in the Washington area is projected to remain sufficient to meet demand.11 Home prices in the region rose 6.8 percent in 2016 and are projected to rise 3.1 percent in 2017, according to the online real estate and rental company Zillow.

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Sources cited:

1 Society for Human Resource Management. “Metro Economic Outlook: Washington, D.C.” Web 1 Jan 2017.
2 “Snapshot: A Monthly Update of the Fifth District Economy.” Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. Web February 2017, accessed 27 Feb 2017.
3 McCartney, Robert. “D.C. Region Braces for Shock From Trump Effect on Spending, Federal Workforce.” The Washington Post. 12 Feb 2016.
4 Economic Snapshot: The District of Columbia. Joint Economic Committee, United States Congress. Web, accessed 27 Feb 2017
5 Unemployment in the Washington Area by County - December 2016. Bureau of Labor Statistics. United States Department of Labor.
6 Medici, Andy. “$1.2B OneWeb Deal Shatters Records, Propels D.C. Region Venture Capital to Banner Year.” Washington Business Journal. Web 11 Jan 2017.
7 Schwartz, Eric Hal. “VideoBlocks is Planning to Make (Literal) Moves and Expand in 2017.” DCInno. Web 28 Dec 2016.
8 Gilgore, Sara. “Maryland IT Firm to Add 100 Jobs, Expand HQ.” Washington Business Journal. Web 20 Dec 2017.
9 Bach, James. “Iomaxis’ $3.8 Million Expansion Could Create 555 Jobs in Fairfax County.” Washington Business Journal. Web 9 Feb 2017.
10 Bhattarai, Abha. “Nestlé to Move U.S.Headquarters to Arlington, Bringing 750 Jobs.” The Washington Post. Web 1 Feb 2017.
11 Charron, David. “What to Expect in the Housing Market in 2017.” The Washington Post. Web 27 Dec 2016. 

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