An Uptick in the Downturn

This week’s speaker at the National Economists’ Club luncheon, Stephen Fuller, director of the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University, gave an “Update on the Downturn,” and spoke about projections for improvement in the economy both nationally and regionally.

The good news is that some of the actual numbers, although still negative—are turning out better than projected. For example, as today’s Washington Post reports:

“Gross domestic product, the broadest measure of economic activity, fell at a 1 percent annual rate in the April-through-June quarter, the Commerce Department said. That compares with a 6.4 percent pace of decline in the first quarter, a revision from an earlier estimate of a 5.5 percent rate of decline.”

That is half the 2.1 percent drop projected in the George Mason GDP projections Fuller provided. Fuller expects that GDP will turn positive sometime this quarter. All this is, of course, good news for both consumers and small business owners waiting for trends in a more positive—or less negative—direction.

As an expert on regional economies, Fuller’s primary focus was on the metropolitan Washington area, which generally fares better than the national average. In this region, job change was positive for three industry sectors over the June 2008-June 2009 period: professional and business services, educational and health services, and the federal government.

For more details and frequently updated numbers, Dr. Fuller encouraged a visit to the Center for Regional Analysis website.

— Kathryn Tobias, Editor

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