A number of years ago, I did a quick analysis of the Washington DC areas’ economy. According to my finding, metro area employment was 57% in intangibles – dominated by Government, Professional & Business Services and Educational & Health Services. The employment would have been even higher if I had not excluded what I called “tangible services”: those services involving the movement of atoms rather than bits, such as administrative and support services. The tangible serves also include the Accommodation and Food Services industries – which make up another large part of the area’s economy.
Based on my quick look and other data I’ve seen during my activities with local economic development, I have liked to characterize the Washington DC economy as BLT: bureaucrats, lobbyists/lawyers and tourism. This is especially true for the District’s economy, as compared to the entire metro region. As a result, I have advocated for measures to diversify the economy, from advanced technology to the arts and fashion.
A recent study from the Brookings Institute, America’s Advanced Industries: What They Are, Where They Are, and Why They Matter, takes a different look at a same idea. The result reinforces the general feeling that the Washington metro area is becoming more diversified in it knowledge based industries. According to the study, the metro area is third nationally in the number of “advanced industry” jobs with a total of 503,470. These indirectly support another 402,780 jobs. The top “advanced” industries in the Washington metro area are:
• Computer Systems Design and Related Services: 199,110 jobs
• Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services: 114,280 jobs
• Architectural, Engineering, and Related Services: 60,750 jobs
• Scientific Research and Development Services: 49,730 jobs
• Data Processing, Hosting, and Related Services: 11,390 jobs
Based on this I need to add something to my BLT sandwich. Maybe some avocado or “A” for “advanced industries”?