In recent months, three comprehensive reports on the competitiveness of our region were released. These were the Roadmap for the Washington Region’s Economic Future, the Council of Government’s State of the Region: Economic Competitiveness Report, and a JPMorgan Chase/Brookings report titled Benchmarking Greater Washington’s Global Reach . Each of the reports addresses a different aspect of the region’s future growth and competitiveness. Here is a summary of each report:
1. The Roadmap for the Washington Region’s Economic Future, led by longtime regional economist Dr. Steve Fuller, has revealed a way to put our economy back on a positive and sustainable economic trajectory, strengthen employment opportunities, and provide a high quality of life for current and future residents. The report was funded by a coalition of groups, including ULI Washington, to address the problem of how the region’s over reliance on federal funding left us lagging behind the national economy and peer metropolitan areas that have better positioned themselves to compete globally. The Roadmap research team identified the private-sector industries best positioned for growth in our region based on our competitive advantages, and interviewed over 30 of the region’s top business leaders to better understand what it will take to maximize the potential growth of these industries in Greater Washington over the next decade.
2. According to the leaders of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG), data in recent years shows a significant economic slowdown in metropolitan Washington, after decades of strong growth fueled by the federal government. To respond to this challenge, COG leaders made economic competitiveness their focus in 2015 and conducted a comprehensive assessment of the region’s economy. The 2016 State of the Region: Economic Competitiveness Report looks at a wide range of indicators measuring the region’s economic climate as well as its built and human infrastructure and quality of life.
3. The JPMorgan Chase and Brookings Institution report is part of their Global Cities Initiative (GCI). This Initiative was launched in 2012 as a five-year project that aims to help leaders in U.S. metropolitan areas reorient their economies toward greater engagement in world markets. Washington, DC is the 29th city to participate in this program. The first step in implementing the initiative was a report that provides a framework for Greater Washington to better understand its performance and position on key indicators of global engagement and offers information and insights to help regional leaders more actively shape the region into a competitive and prosperous global marketplace. In the coming year, the Council of Governments, the Greater Washington Board of Trade, and the Consortium of Universities of the Metropolitan Area will lead a program called The Exchange. This program is part of the Global Cities Initiative. The Exchange is a network of metro areas that will develop and implement regional strategies to boost global trade and investment, forge partnerships between U.S. and international metropolitan areas, and advocate for state and national policy changes. The Exchange enables leaders to act on the ideas and collaborations generated by GCI’s research and forums, resulting in more globally-oriented metropolitan areas and an evolution in economic development policy and practice.