CRA Research News

GO Virginia Region 7 Plan

The Center for Regional Analysis is proud to support the efforts of the GO Virginia Initiative. CRA has been assisting the Region 7 GO VA Council in the creation of their Growth and Diversification Plan – a  strategic plan which will establish criteria that guide the selection of projects developed by the regions will effectively move the economy forward. The completed document is available here.

Region 7 includes the counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William and the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas, and Manassas Park in Northern Virginia.

Other GO Virginia Support

In addition, CRA partnered with Old Dominion University and the Natelson Dale Group in the creation of the Growth and Diversification Plan for Region 5 (Hampton Roads). That report is available here.

In early Summer 2017, CRA was contracted by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) to compile baseline data for each of the seven GO Virginia Regions. The resulting data is available here in presentation and excel formats.

About GO Virginia

The Virginia Initiative for Growth and Opportunity in Each Region (GO Virginia) was initiated by Virginia’s senior business leaders to foster private-sector growth and job creation through state incentives for regional collaboration by business, education, and government. Recognizing the harsh effect of deep federal budget cuts on a Virginia economy that is overly dependent on public-sector jobs, they launched the GO Virginia campaign to work for regional cooperation on private-sector growth, job creation, and career readiness. For more information visit: or

CRA Research Economic Indicators Latest Updates

Metro Ridership Viewer

Public transportation viability and accessibility are vital to the regional economy, especially in the Washington Region where we currently hold the second longest commute time in the nation.  The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority is facing several challenges due to funding, administration, and performance issues, especially with its Metrorail system. As the system continues in a period of line closures (safe-tracking), rate hikes, and funding issues, we at CRA are keeping a close eye on Metro related data as a key economic indicator of the region. As a part of this, we have released an interactive Metrorail ridership viewer on our website which breaks down weekday ridership by station. The data currently includes ridership numbers from 2010 through 2017 Quarter 1 and will be updated quarterly into the future.

Click here to Explore the Data  

Each data point indicates the average Monday through Friday daily ridership on the week beginning with the date listed. With a decrease across all stations of nearly 16%,  80 out of 92 stations have decreased in weekday ridership from 2011 through 2016. Stations on the ends of the orange line have decreased the most including West Falls Church (-73%), Vienna (-41%), Landover (-38%), Dunn Loring (-34%), Deanwood (-34%),  and  New Carrolton (-31%). Many park and ride stations have decreased in ridership significantly as well, including Franconia-Springfield (-34%), Huntington (-23%), and Shady Grove (-19%). Among the few stations showing increased ridership, the NoMa-Galluadet Station (New York Ave) ridership increased nearly 15% along with a 6% increase at Navy Yard (6%).

Each station tells a unique story and many real-time phenomena are displayed in the ridership data. A few insights are shown below. Please share any additional unique findings or insights on our twitter page @GMU_CRA or by email to

  • Many stations cater primarily to workforce commuters. The Pentagon Station –  being a big bus to rail transfer point with many federal/nonfederal workers and contractors – displays predictable dips during holidays. Most stations show significant dropoffs during the weeks of Thanksgiving and the Holidays.
  • Cherry Blossom season is one of the most popular times for locals and tourists alike to visit DC. The Smithsonian station, among others, drastically spikes during the week of the Cherry Blossom festival and again in mid-summer. 
  • The Navy Yard station is located near Nats Park and we can visually see the effects of baseball season on ridership there. 
  • Service on Phase I of the Silver Line opened on July 26, 2014 between Wiehle – Reston East and Largo Town Center, with five new stations being added to the existing network west of East Falls Church. The effects of this opening are seen by comparing the new station of Whiele to the West falls Church station (just before the silver line meets and joins the Orange). West falls church drops dramtically in late July as Whiele comes on line. The second phase of the silver line out to Ashburn and Dulles is anticipated to open in 2018, and it will be interesting to see its effects.  

  • SafeTrack is an accelerated track work plan to address safety recommendations and rehabilitate the Metrorail system to improve safety and reliability. The program has been implementing intermittent line segment single tracking and shutdowns since early June 2016 and is expected to end in June 2017. Its effects can be visualised by matching the scheduled surges to specific stations. It will be crucial to analyze the effects of SafeTrack after its completion, specifically whether ridership returns to pre-maintenance levels.
    • Single tracking between Vienna and West Falls church causes a dip late 2016 in Vienna ridership (also accounted for in the corresponding spike at West Falls Church above). 
    • Ballston ridership sags in mid-2016 due to single tracking.
    • Brookland ridership goes to zero as a segment of the red line is shut down in November 2016. 
    • Crystal City sinks as the blue line closed between Pentagon City and National Airport in mid-July 2016
    • King Street station is down to Holiday ridership numbers in March 2017 due to single tracking.  

Please share any unique findings or insights on our twitter page @GMU_CRA or by email to

Economic Indicators Latest Updates News

March Regional Housing Update – Price Gains and Increased Sales

The housing market in the Washington metro area continues to tighten as median sales price is highest March level of the decade, sales and pending sales are at decade highs, and inventory levels decline for the eleventh month in a row

  • March 2017’s median sales price of $420,00 was up 5.3% or $21,000 compared to last year. This is the highest March median sales price of the last decade, easily topping the prior high of $400,000 seen in 2015.
  • Sales volume across the DC Metro area was nearly $2.3 billion, up 26.7% from last March.
  • Closed sales of 4,450 were up 18.5% compared to last year. It was also the highest March level in a decade and easily exceeding the 3,755 sales recorded last March.
  • New contract activity of 6,254 also reached a ten-year March high, increasing by 1.4% over last year.  New listings of 8,210 were down 1.7% compared to last year.
  • Active listings of 8,648 are down 11.5% compared to last year but up 15.3% compared to last month. This is the eleventh consecutive month of declines in year-over-year inventory levels, and inventories are at the lowest March level since 2014.
  • The average percent of original list price received at sale in March was 97.9%, up from last year’s 97.1%, and also up from last month’s 97.4%.
  • The median days-on-market for March 2017 was 15 days, 12 days lower than last year.

Read More Here

This analysis of the Washington, D.C. Metro Area housing market was prepared by Elliot Eisenberg, Ph.D. of MarketStats by ShowingTime and is based on March 2017 MRIS housing data.

Economic Indicators Latest Updates News

National Unemployment Lowest in 10 Years, Employment up Slightly

National employment situation numbers released this morning show payroll employment increasing by only 98,000 and the unemployment rate decreasing 0.2 percentage points to 4.5 percent. The professional and business services sector saw the largest growth at an additional 56,000 jobs and for the second straight month, retail trade lost nearly 30,000. Total employment is up 2.18 million from March 2016. 

The relatively small jobs growth could be due to large February jobs numbers, boosted by unseasonably good weather across the country, as well as the late snow storm in the upper midwest and northeast in March that possibly suppressed some seasonal hiring. Other measures of the economy remain strong, so a slowdown of one month is no cause for concern.

The unemployment rate is now at its lowest point since May 2007 as the economy gets closer to full employment. The better news lies in the U-6 unemployment rate decreasing 0.3 percentage points to 8.9 percent (includes marginally attached workers and those employed part-time for economic reasons). As the gap shrinks between the unemployment rate (U-3) and the U-6 rate we see the number of underemployed and discouraged workers decrease.


Explore Metro Ridership with our Metro Data Viewer

Economic Indicators Latest Updates News

Washington Area Job Growth Remains Stable

New metropolitan area employment and unemployment numbers released today show continued job growth for the Washington region with  18,300 jobs added in February. This is an increase of 62,400 jobs over February 2016, with the sectors of Professional & Business Services and Leisure & Hospitality leading the pack. The unemployment rate remains constant at 3.9 percent, below the nation rate of 4.7.

Between February 2016 and February 2017, Suburban Maryland saw its largest job growth since 2000, adding 31,900 jobs. February annualized employment change in the District and Northern Virginia remains similar to recent months. The unemployment rate in DC ticks slightly higher to 6.1 percent and remains the highest in the region. Northern Virginia unemployment moved down to 3.3 percent, while Suburban Maryland and the region as a whole remain steady at 3.9 percent.

Of notable concern due to the current policy environment, federal government jobs in the region remain steady but are trending downward. We will continue to monitor these numbers closely. March national employment numbers are scheduled to be released this Friday (April 7th) and regional employment numbers for March on May 3rd.

For our complete set of indicators click here

CRA Research

Middle-skill jobs in the Greater Washington Region

New report—prepared by CRA and Business Development Advisors— shines a light on a set of middle-skill jobs in our region’s leading industry clusters and shows pathways into and beyond these jobs for individuals who currently do not hold a college degree.

Read More Here

Read the Full Report.