For Better or Worse, Mason Data Show Economic Forecast for the Region

Posted: August 22, 2014 at 5:03 am, Last Updated: August 22, 2014 at 3:05 pm

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By Buzz McClain

One slide said it all: Compared with other major cities in the United States, Washington, D.C., and its surrounding region are faring worse in the economic recovery than every other region, except for one: Detroit.

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S. David Wu and Stephen Fuller at the economic forum at Capital One.

That was one of the lowlight highlights of George Mason University professor Stephen Fuller’s Thursday presentation to 150 Washington area business leaders during the “Mid-Year Review and Early Forecast for 2015” economic forum. The event was presented by George Mason, Mason’s Center for Regional Analysis and Capital One Bank at Capital One’s national headquarters in McLean, Va.

Data analyzed at Mason’s center show a bleak forecast with a few bright spots. Those in the education, healthcare, and leisure and hospitality industries have the best outlook for future growth because they don’t depend on spending by those in construction, manufacturing and, worst of all, the federal government.

In fact, Fuller said, to facilitate a steady and successful recovery, the region must answer, “What are our unique assets we can build a new economy on?” Federal spending, he said, apologizing for seeming too simplistic, is not likely to rebound in the face of sequester and 2013’s federal government shutdown.

Provost and executive vice president S. David Wu pointed out to the audience that Mason is “engaging the business community and working on common interests, particularly entrepreneurship and technology innovation.” Mason’s “potent intellectual power,” Wu said, can help in the fields of “security, cyberspace, the environment and others. There are so many ways collaboration can occur.” He pointed out that Mason produces “students who are ready to have a direct impact on the regional economy.”

Following Wu, Guylaine Saint Juste, Capital One Business Banking Virginia market executive and Mason alumna, BA International Studies ’94, agreed that Mason’s mission “meshes well with Capital One’s mission of ingenuity, simplicity and humanity.”

The next Center for Regional Analysis economic forum is January 15, 2015.

Write to Buzz McClain at bmcclai2@gmu.edu

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