Morning Brief: Local Economy Worse Than Predictions

Every year The Washington Post brings together a group of local experts and asks them to predict how the local economy faired. This year, even those who most accurately predicted the course of the Washington-area economy in the Post's Local Economy Challenge 2008 failed to guess the depth of the financial drama that has unfolded.

Paul Villella, chief executive of HireStrategy, an executive-recruiting firm in Reston, was most accurate overall in predicting how the local economy would fare last year. It was his broad-based pessimism that made him the winner. Overall, Villella was second-most pessimistic of the 23 local business leaders (plus the averaged predictions of readers) who ventured a guess on how 11 key economic indicators would perform in the Post's Local Economy Challenge 2008.

"This is an economic tsunami," he said last week. "Did I foresee that? No. What I did see are signs."

And if these 21 local business and economic experts are to be believed, the Washington area is in for a year that's worse than last by almost every measure.

In other news, Ed Rudzinski, 62, one of the best-known general managers in the Washington region and Marriott hotel chain, is stepping down from running one of the largest hotels in the city, Washington Marriott Wardman Park on Connecticut Avenue NW.

And the Greater Washington Board of Trade today is launching an index measuring the area's business outlook.

More than half of the 204 executives who responded to a survey earlier this month said their business's financial situation has declined over the past year. But 71 percent thought it was easier to do business in Washington than in most other places in the nation.

By Alejandro Lazo  |  February 23, 2009; 9:35 AM ET  | Category:  Economy , Economy Watch , Morning Brief
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This whole economy is going to the dogs, especially after this unbelievable stimulus bill passed. We the tax payers hated this bill and do not want to pay all these exhorbant taxes. It is not surprising that the stocks are dumping, we are going to hang on to our money. Thank you very much!!! I cannot believe any poll that says we are in favor of this tax bill, it is crazy indeed. Watch your money, someone else wants it.

Posted by: djmelfi | February 23, 2009 8:38 PM

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