One of the reasons why recent grads make their way to D.C. is that the number of jobs for young, highly educated workers under 40 is pretty darn good when compared with the rest of the nation (with the exception of the District of Columbia that has slightly higher unemployment, but more on that later).
For most of Maryland and Virginia, people are working and the charts from the Labor Department are confirmation. There are three reasons why working in the DMV is a good thing (and I'm not saying this because I'm totally biased, but because it's true):
- Reason 1: The pay ain't bad.
- Reason 2: Snob appeal.
- Reason 3: Easy on the eyes.
Let's go back to reason #1 - which is why most people work who are not particularly mission-oriented or heirs to massive fortunes. Most people work because they like to eat.
In previous articles I covered salaries. and like most things, money is relative. But, even when factoring in living quarters, food, fun, and healthcare needs, D.C. is a fairly inexpensive place to live, especially if one lives in Maryland or northern VA.
Reason #2. Who doesn't get a kick out of saying "I work in D.C."? Instantly, people who don't know any better (that is, people from everywhere else) think you work on the Hill, the White House, the CIA, get invited to embassy parties like Jane or James Bond - things way cooler than what you probably really do - push paper and sit in meetings. But sometimes, it is true that you do (or have done) at least 90 percent of the stuff listed above and let's just say that things could be worse than working in these places or hanging out with these people.
Reason #3: In the 1960s, First Lady Lady Bird Johnson (you didn't see double, her nickname was Lady Bird and she was First Lady) set out to beautify Washington, D.C., along with the rest of the Nation, in what was called her Beautification Project. It's why the city has cherry blossom trees and all sorts of fauna and foliage that are stunning in the spring and fall. It's why tourism is the number one industry in D.C. (after the Federal government).
Returning to D.C. unemployment. Like most cities, the District of Columbia has a longstanding aging and minority population that has not always kept pace with newcomer transients who tend to be nonminority, highly educated, and migratory. It's not really anyone's fault that the Nation's capital is not necessarily #1 in unemployment, but it is also not hard to see that the D.C. metropolitan area (or DMV - short for the District, Maryland, and Virginia) is not doing so poorly at all. http://www.bls.gov/ro3/blssummary_washington.pdf