If you do any recruiting in the Greater Washington, DC Metro area, the annual Washington Post 200 Companies edition is a must read. This year's version, out today, is no exception. In addition to providing some great information on DC's top 200 Public companies, this feature also lists the top Private companies, not-for-profits, banks, law firms, etc.

This year's issue focuses, as you can probably guess, on the changing economy. DC has always had a reputation of being relatively 'recession-proof', due to the size and capacity of the federal government. This may continue to be the case, but with major employers such as Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Capital One feeling the pinch, the effects here could be more profound this time around. This is a very unique market though, summed up nicely by a 'Intelligence Factor', penned by Post writer Michael Rosenwald:

"Our region does not have a lot of factory jobs. We don't make ketchup. We don't make toilet paper. We don't make steel. Our business, without sounding too pompous, is largely ideas and the execution of them, whether they are moved around town in legal briefs or a consultant's briefcase.

Many of us have advanced degrees. We are engineers, information technologists, biologists, chemists, lawyers (oodles of lawyers), analysts, congressional staffers, financial gurus, think tankers and occasionally journalists. How smart are we? We have three of the top 25 most-educated U.S. cities by number of advanced degrees per capita, according to Census Bureau data. Arlington is No. 1, Bethesda No. 8 and Alexandria No. 9.

Will it continue to grow? Or stagnate? Will companies shy away from new hires to save money and beef up the bottom line, or will they throw caution to the wind so they don't miss out on hiring the next Steve Jobs?

The conundrum is complicated even further by our low unemployment rate -- about 3.3 percent as of March, below the national average. That means that even if a government contractor like SAIC, with more than 1,000 job openings in the D.C. area, continues hiring, it will likely have to compete with other firms, creating pressure to push up wages at the very time the region finds itself in a downturn. Unique circumstances, to be sure."

Also be sure to check out the video describing a the workday of a typical Washingtonian, and was DC's tech boom of the late 90's a myth?

The slowing economy has had an effect for sure, but the government still provides a very strong support structure to likely if not continue the 'recession proof' trend, at least make it not as hard as in other regions of the country. My late grandfather, a DC native, used to tell me that even during the Great Depression, that life in DC wasn't so bad. It will be interesting to see how this latest economic downturn plays out in the life of the everyday Washingtonian.

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