New Report: Federal Reliance Could Be Limiting Virginia's Economy

Sep 30, 2019

Credit MBandman / Creative Commons

Is Virginia’s economy being outpaced by the rest of the country? One new report suggests that’s the case.

Northern Virginia is almost half of Virginia’s economy, and it has a long history of being tied to federal spending. A new report from the Fuller Institute at George Mason University says that has not served Virginia well over the last decade, as every other major metropolitan area in the country has surged ahead.

Jeanette Chapman at the Fuller Institute says Northern Virginia was doing relatively well during the recession. But… 

“Then came the drawdown of the stimulus, the drawdown of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan combined with sequestration," she explains. "All of that hit our economy disproportionately compared to other places in the nation.”

Quentin Kidd at Christopher Newport University says Virginia’s economy is tied to federal spending in a way that prevents any kind of extreme boom or bust. 

“The Dallas metro region could have a really diverse economy that is just on fire. You’re not going to get that same kind of boom cycle out of federal spending," Kidd says. "You’re going to get pretty predictable levels of spending that are going to keep you from suffering too much when there’s a recession but might hold you back from those boom cycles also.”

Dallas, incidentally, was the metro region that grew the most over the last decade. Northern Virginia and the Washington region, on the other hand, came in last out of the 15 areas studied.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.