DC Economy and Hiring Trends to Watch Out For

by Donna Burnett on September 6, 2023 in Hiring


Despite recessionary pressure, high inflation rates, and labor shortages across the country, the DC market is proving resilient. Employment is up, inflation is down, and GDP is expected to almost double by 2024 for DC. As the world continues to evolve, so does the landscape of DC’s hiring market. Amidst the rapid changes, one thing remains certain: businesses need to plan strategically to navigate this dynamic landscape.

In this blog, we delve into pivotal data and trends shaping the future of hiring in Washington, DC, from technology and accounting to international relations, nonprofits, and government sectors. We’ll start things off by taking a look at the latest local economic trends and long-term industry projections, along with what this information means for your business.

General Economic Trends

  • Data shows DC – Maryland – Virginia area employment has increased 2.6% year over year.
  • While the unemployment rate for the DMV decreased by -.8% year over year, the rate for the District of Columbia specifically has increased by .7%. The increase in unemployment rate for DC could be attributed to specific local economic factors, industry composition, or changes in government employment, which may differ from the broader DMV region’s trends.
  • DMV total compensation (private industry workers) saw a 1% increase compared to the overall U.S.’s -1% decrease.
  • Technology and professional services are among the top industry sectors creating jobs and driving innovation across the DMV.

Long-Term Industry Employment Projections

  • All industries in DC are expected to see an annual growth rate of .86% by 2028.
  • Nonprofit employment is expected to see an annual growth rate of .9% by 2030.
  • State government is expected to see an annual growth rate of .8%, while federal government will see a -.1% decline in employment by 2030.
  • Professional, scientific, and technical services employment is expected to see an annual growth rate of .9% by 2030.
  • Finance and insurance employment is expected to see an annual growth rate of .4% by 2030.

How to Keep Your Company Ahead of the Curve

Here are a few ways business leaders and hiring managers can adapt to changing economic conditions, taking advantage of emerging opportunities in the Washington, DC area.

     1). Embrace a Flexible Recruitment Strategy:

The growth of particular industries often presents opportunities to optimize your recruitment efforts. Try taking a flexible approach to hiring by broadening your job descriptions and relaxing requirements on specific background experience or industry expertise—you just might unlock a wealth of untapped potential. This adaptive strategy enables you to tap into a broader talent pool, crossing industry boundaries to find professionals with transferable skills and fresh perspectives.

     2). Address Unemployment Disparities:

Addressing unemployment in DC will take a combination of community engagement, skill development initiatives, and strategic partnerships. Consider collaborating with local government agencies, community organizations, and educational institutions to create job training and placement programs that align with the needs of the local workforce.

Actively prioritize hiring locally, and launch internship opportunities that provide practical on-the-job training for DC residents. You can take it one step further and organize job fairs, career expos, or networking events that connect local job seekers with potential employers as well. When your organization plays an active role in addressing unemployment, you’re contributing to the local economy and fostering a stronger, more resilient DC.

     3). Invest in Nonprofit Initiatives:

Capitalize on the projected growth in the nonprofit sector by aligning your organization’s corporate social responsibility efforts with local nonprofit organizations. These partnerships offer your company a wealth of advantages extending beyond philanthropy.

Financial contributions, skill-sharing, and collaborative projects not only bolster nonprofit causes, but also elevate your company’s brand, reputation, and corporate responsibility profile.

Engaging employees through purpose-driven work cultivates loyalty, motivation, and a positive workplace culture, which in turn attracts and retains the top talent you need.

Ultimately, investing in nonprofits is a strategic endeavor that propels positive change for everyone involved and enriches your company culture—it’s a win-win!

      4). Adapt to Government Employment Changes:

Assess how federal government employment might impact your business and explore opportunities to diversify your client base or service offerings beyond government contracts.

Looking ahead, the White House is pushing federal agencies to prioritize in-person work over telework this fall, aiming to enhance workplace culture and mission fulfillment. This initiative aligns with April guidance from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which instructed agencies to substantially increase meaningful in-person work and develop new work environment plans.

While some federal agencies have been criticized for telework-related service backlogs and underutilized office space, federal employee unions advocate for hybrid arrangements that balance in-person and remote work through collaboration with labor partners. Keep an eye on this initiative, as you may want to reassess your own telework and remote work policies based on the outcome.

     5). Embrace Specialized Expertise:

As the professional, scientific, and technical services sector is projected to grow, focus on attracting and retaining specialized talent in these fields. Experts in growing fields are often at the forefront of industry trends and developments, and their knowledge will help you stay adaptable and responsive to changes in the DC economic landscape.

Offer opportunities for professional development, certifications, and advanced training to nurture a highly skilled workforce. Not only does this contribute to the growth of the individual, but it also enhances your company’s reputation as an organization that is happy to invest in employee advancement.

     6). Offer Competitive Compensation Packages:

Capitalize on the positive compensation trend in the DMV area by offering exceptional compensation packages. In a competitive job market, this helps you attract and retain top talent and positions your company as an attractive employer.

Not to mention, high employee turnover is costly in terms of recruitment, training, and lost productivity. Investing in competitive compensation from the start reduces turnover rates, leading to cost savings and a more stable workforce.

     7). Monitor Economic News and Trends:

Stay informed about evolving economic trends, industry shifts, and labor market dynamics. Regularly analyze relevant data and reports to make proactive hiring decisions that align with the changing landscape.

Most relevant to you now are the changes coming to Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. The COVID-19 flexibility for remote document inspections ended on July 31, 2023. Action is needed by August 30, 2023, as in-person physical inspections are now required for documents reviewed remotely during the flexibility period. Going forward, stick to in-person document reviews. The America Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) offers two valid options: in-person review by HR/Admin or the “Remote Hire” process using an authorized representative. Remember, an authorized rep must follow proper guidelines, and employers are still responsible for any violations.

Teamwork Makes the DC Dream Work

Washington, DC’s hiring market reflects the city itself—vibrant, resilient, and brimming with potential. For businesses, strategic planning is paramount. Anticipating the impact of trends, fostering a culture of innovation, and investing in talent development are crucial to staying competitive.

As the capital continues to evolve, those who are willing to seize opportunities, adapt to change, and collaborate across sectors will find themselves at the forefront of shaping the future of the city’s dynamic employment landscape.

The best part is, you don’t have to navigate these changes alone. Contact 1’s dynamic staffing solutions, from temporary placements to direct hires, sync seamlessly with DC’s growth trends. Unifying strategic recruitment and community alliances, we conquer unemployment challenges head-on. Our team helps you navigate government shifts, hire specialized experts, and offer competitive packages that entice top talent.

Ready to secure top talent and navigate DC’s economy? Partner with Contact 1 today! Contact us to learn more about our temporary and direct hire staffing services.