Job Growth In NoVa, D.C. Outpaces Suburban Maryland

Heather Curtis

WASHINGTON (WMAL) – Northern Virginia and D.C. are outpacing suburban Maryland when it comes to job growth according to a new report.

Montgomery and Frederick Counties saw half the job growth of D.C. and Northern Virginia in 2018 according to Jeannette Chapman, deputy director of the Stephen S. Fuller Institute, which put together the report using numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Chapman said suburban Maryland has seen subdued job growth ever since the recession at about 1 percent per year, while job growth in D.C. and NoVa has accelerated since 2014 and is at about 2 percent.

The changes in growth can be attributed to the difference kinds of jobs that are most prevalent in the different areas according to Chapman. D.C. and NoVa have a larger share of professional business service jobs – including advocacy, science, security and biohealth – that benefit places outside the region, while suburban Maryland has more resident serving jobs – including those in retail, hospitality, education, healthcare, and state and local government – which serve the area’s population.

Chapman said it is possible for suburban Maryland to catch up, but it would be a slow process.

One thing that could help suburban Maryland with job growth is Amazon’s HQ2 in Crystal City.

“Amazon will have spillover effects, and the way that those spillover effects distribute across the region is still a little up in the air,” Chapman said.

While it’s likely that they will be a little more clustered in NoVa, Chapman said that doesn’t mean suburban Maryland won’t also reap some of the benefits.

If suburban Maryland really wants to increase its job growth, it will need to be more proactive and expand its job base beyond resident serving jobs, according to Chapman. She said the area already has a relatively strong biotech sector, but it’s lagging a bit. Bolstering it could help accelerate job growth

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