Washington, DC Metro Economy Jumps to 5th Largest in Nation

The Washington, D.C. metro area moved up from being 6th largest metro economy to the 5th largest in 2016, according to data on 2016 Metropolitan GDP released last week by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

In 2015, the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area generated a gross GDP dollar value of $444 billion, making it the 6th largest metropolitan economy. In 2016, the metro’s total economic output rose to $449 billion, an increase of 1.1 percent that moved Washington up into 5th place over the Houston MSA.

However, the shift in metro GDP rankings has less to do with a particularly strong growth rate in Washington, and more to do with Houston’s 3 percent decline in economic output. Up until 2013 the D.C. metro had been the fourth-largest economy in the nation, with fast-growing Houston closing in. In 2014, Houston passed the D.C. metro, and in 2015 the Dallas-Fort Worth Metro economy passed both Houston and D.C.

While the Washington metro economy is indeed growing, its growth rates are relatively low compared to the other 10 largest metro economies. Among the 100 largest metro economies, Washington only ranked 60th for growth in 2016.

According to the BEA data, the professional and business services sector contributed the lion’s share of the Washington metro Area’s growth, accounting for 0.55 percent of total GDP growth. No other industry came close, though education, construction, and of course government saw growth as well. The finance, real estate, and insurance sectors saw a decline in output versus 2015.

Here are the complete 2016 GDP rankings for the top 100 US Metro Areas:

Al Harris