Washington, DC (economy)

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Washington, DC is first and foremost a company town, the company being, of course, the federal government. Most (but by no means all) people who work in or around the District have some sort of connection to the federal government. In addition to government employees, many people work for the federal contractors headquartered in the area, and many also work for the numerous nonprofit organizations of all sizes and political orientations. Then there are the law firms and lobbying firms, catering and administrative services companies, and several other industries that are sustained by the enormous economic presence of the federal government.

This arrangement has the effect of making the Washington economy virtually recession proof, since the federal government will still operate no matter the state of the general economy.

Several major companies are based in Washington, including the Carlyle Group and Marriott International, Inc.

America Online and Orbital Sciences Corporation are based in nearby Dulles, Virginia. MCI is based in nearby Ashburn, Virginia. Nextel and Unisys are based in Reston, Virginia. US Airways is based in Arlington County, Virginia. Colgan Air is based in (not quite so) nearby Manassas, Virginia. Lockheed Martin is based in nearby Bethesda, Maryland. Alhurra is based in Springfield, Virginia. Independence Air is based at nearby Dulles International Airport. The Gannett Company, a media conglomerate that publishes USA Today, is based in McLean in Fairfax County, Virginia.

The American genomics industry is largely centered around the Maryland suburbs of Washington. Prominent players are Celera, The Institute for Genomic Research (also known as "TIGR"), and Human Genome Sciences (all of which are in the city of Rockville, Maryland).

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