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October 31, 2013 / Christian Clansky

Has the government been replaced as our local industry?

Here is a bold claim for your spooky Thursday: the single largest industry in in the Greater Washington region isn’t the federal government. What?!

The Atlantic’s Richard Florida has pulled together a lot of data to map out our region’s workforce. His entire post is overwhelmingly full of important information, but the most interesting claim is that our “knowledge-based economy” has overtaken the government as our local industry (Atlantic, 10/31):

The bottom line: Greater D.C. has evolved into a leading-edge knowledge economy, where private sector knowledge, professional, and creative jobs outnumber direct government jobs. But government remains the central pivot point of the region’s knowledge economy, stimulating a wide range of direct and indirect spinoff jobs.

Florida goes on to examine the wage gap in our region, which is pretty stark:

The D.C. region’s economy, like America’s as a whole, is also becoming split between high-skill, high-wage knowledge jobs and low-wage, low-skill service jobs. On the one hand, high-wage jobs (paying above $21.14 per hour) have made up 59 percent of the region’s job growth…But low-wage jobs (paying up to $13.83 an hour) have made up 34 percent. Mid-wage jobs (paying between $13.84 and $21.13 an hour) have made up a paltry 7 percent of total job growth….

WEALTH BUILDING | On a similar subject, local funders have been exploring the possibility of starting businesses in our region. Cleveland’s Evergreen Initiative is the inspiration for the local Community Wealth Building Initiative, which has identified two enterprises as points of entry. Tamara recaps the model, its progress, and what happens next – Stormwater, lettuce, and the promise of community wealth building. (Daily, 10/31)

HOUSING | A survey of the local real estate industry finds that its members now consider the region’s affordable housing shortage to be “severe” or “somewhat severe.” One of the leading factors behind this opinion is that workers are having to live further away from their jobs due to high housing costs. (WaPo, 10/31)

Related: We touched on this exact problem in our What Funders Need to Know installment on housing. There’s a map included that shows how far away from the city workers would need to live in order for their housing to be considered affordable. (Daily, 4/30)

EDUCATION
– The District closed thirteen schools at the end of last year, and it was previously reported that less than half of the students in those schools had re-enrolled at other DCPS schools this year. The school system has revised the estimates to say that 73 percent have re-enrolled. (WAMU, 10/31)

Suspending students isn’t the best way to discipline (GGE, 10/31)  This is probably a more effective tactic.


Happy Halloween, folks! If you want to experience true horror, go to any store and note that they think the (winter) holiday season began two weeks ago. Some of us love Halloween and don’t want it diluted by premature Santa Claus advertisements!

So, to celebrate, let’s get down to business. First, WTOP’s list of the 50 scariest movies of all time. I’d put their number two in the top spot. Next, what’s Halloween without Thriller?

And how about some creepy music to set the mood? The themes from Halloween or Candyman, perhaps? Or the Monster Mash? Finally, check out Google’s interactive doodle. Click around – there are lots of ghoulish outcomes!

Hope you all have a terrifyingly good Halloween and weekend.   – Christian

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