The economy in the Washington, D.C. area has fared much better than the rest of the nation, in part, because of the federal jobs and contracts concentrated in the region.
And while state and local governments and the private sector have cut thousands of jobs to weather the Great Recession, started in late 2007, the federal government added 16,000 jobs in the D.C. area.
Government was the fastest growing employment sector (1.8 percent) in the area between 2010 to 2011, according to the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Thousands who live in the 6th Congressional District work for the federal government or for an employer that does work for it on a contractual basis. Montgomery County is home to 19 federal agencies, and more than 40 percent of the employed people who live in Frederick County head south to work each day on Interstate 270.
Federal salaries and benefits provide for a comfortable lifestyle, but salaries have been frozen since 2010. The average salary for a full-time federal employee before the salary freeze was $74,403, according to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
With more federal budget cuts looming, many worry the most effective method of trimming the budget without cutting vital services is to lay off employees. Cutting federal employees and benefits and salaries is a rallying cry for some Republicans running in the primary election.
However, economic pundits forecast that the Rockville, Bethesda and Frederick corridor will see a decrease in overall salaries, but an increase in federal jobs as many federal workers reach retirement age during the next decade.
Given that a large number of people who live in the 6th District are employed by the federal government, or are dependent on federal contracts, how can you help ensure that the job base stays healthy in economically uncertain times?
“The District 6 economy will be greatly influenced by tax and regulatory policy, which thus far has been an impediment to jobs growth in MD. This anti-business atmosphere coupled with the strong potential of federal contract reductions in the state will mean that your Congresswoman will need to promote the ...”
— Kathy Afzali (R)
“Work to promote collective bargaining rights of federal workers, and to work to provide a mini-stimulus to the Sixth District that would bring thousands of jobs, increasing the tax base, including the federal tax base, thus shoring up funding for our hard working federal workers.”
— Charles Bailey (D)
“We need to prioritize federal government functions to focus on basics with more efficiency and accountability. Shared sacrifice will strengthen our economy and reduce our deficit and National Debt. Scapegoating federal workers with unilateral cuts or blindly terminating federal contracts would be unfair and won't solve our budget crisis.”
— U.S. Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett (R)
“Over the last ten years, as deficit spending increased, jobs decreased. There are no shortcuts to a healthy economy. Congress must lower taxes, reduce spending and eliminate the debt. Only then, will our Country’s economy grow thereby assuring a healthy economic environment for our federal workforce and federal contractors.”
— David Brinkley (R)
“Federal government contracting is governed by a web of statutes and regulations as it imposes a host of contractual obligations including requirements related to affirmative action, drug-free work place, and minimum employee wages. We need to streamline the contracting process by reducing burdens on contractors offering commercial products and ...”
— Robert Coblentz (R)
“As noted by columnist Steven Pearlstein, through my work with Blueprint Maryland, I’ve been a leader on this issue. We conducted research on the impact of federal cuts, and recommended growing our alternative energy and manufacturing sectors. In Washington, I will defend federal workers and their jobs against extreme attacks.”
— John Delaney (D)
“My parents and brother were federal employees. However, we have unsustainable $1 trillion annual deficit totaling $53,000 for every man, woman and child. Apple has 500,000 employees in China and Japan and 10,000 in U.S. Reverse such as that through tax incentives.”
— Robin Ficker (R)
“We must protect our federal workers from baseless Republican attacks. If Roscoe Bartlett had his way, thousands of Marylanders would lose their jobs as a result of drastic federal budget cuts. We can reduce the deficit, but we must do so in a responsible way that doesn’t kill jobs.”
— Robert Garagiola (D)
“I will show members of Congress how to fix the money system and the economy. I’ll lead them to water. Will they drink? We will have a collapse that will be worse than 2008. Watch the “Money as Debt” video at peterjames2012.com. People must not rely on the government.”
— Peter James (R)
“We can’t have our cake and eat it too. The federal government must rein in spending and a consequence of reining in spending is a loss of government jobs. As regulatory barriers are lifted businesses will backfill, take risks, invest, and move jobs from the public to the private sector.”
— Joseph Krystoforzski (R)
“Even during economic downturns, the federal government and contractor positions are most sought after. This is the case because of the likelihood of maintaining government facilities and operations. One way to continue this trend is to ensure full funding of these entities and that they are operating at peak efficiency.”
— Ron Little (D)
“I was a research scientist at the NIH and know that Federal government investment in biotechnology and medical research and development are critical to the public health and welfare of our nation. I will ensure that the 6th district and the biotechnology corridor will remain the hub for these efforts.”
— Milad Pooran (D)
“Being so close to Washington DC has made the MD6th too dependent on the Federal Government. A successful future for the MD6th depends on less government and more private enterprise. Private sector job growth depends on promoting savings and investment and simplifying the tax code.”
— Brandon Rippeon (R)