We used to have bragging rights here in Washington as having the strongest job market in the country. That hasn't been the case in a while. We can blame a slowdown in government hiring.
The nation's staggering debt levels have a lot to do with it. With Congress again debating the future size of the federal government, jobs and spending are up in the air. That limbo will impact our job and housing market yet again this year and next year. Here are some brand new predictions from the Center for Regional Analysis, at George Mason University.
The region is expected to lose 22,000 federal jobs by 2017. A lot of that is due to the spending cuts we are expecting out of Congress.
But in a way, this is good news. Economists were originally predicting 450,000 jobs would be lost. At the same time, the Washington region will still have a net gain of 281,000 new jobs by 2017, most of those in the private sector and not related to the government.
A rebound in the housing sector will lead part of the way. The Center sees about 55,000 new construction jobs being added by 2017. That works out to be about 20 percent of new job growth.
The good news, we do have these new private-sector jobs being created. The bad news, they jobs pay a lot less than the federal jobs we are losing.