Washington DC Doesn’t Lead U.S. Cities in Concentration of Federal Jobs

Tuesday, November 19, 2013
(photo: Michael Golembesky, US Air Force)

Given Republicans’ persistent efforts to downsize the federal government—and reduce the number of federal jobs in the process—one would assume that GOP areas wouldn’t have much to lose as a result of such cost-cutting measures. But it turns out the highest concentrations of federal employment actually exist across the Sunbelt of the United States, where Republicans tend to dominate political office.


Following the government shutdown in October, Richard Florida at The Atlantic Cities wanted to see where federal jobs were in the U.S. to gauge the impact of agencies being shuttered.


For starters, he found that Washington, DC, does not have the largest concentration of U.S. government jobs among American urban centers. In fact, DC comes in fourth—behind Colorado Springs (with a 16.4% federal share), Virginia Beach (16.1%), and Honolulu (15.4%).


DC’s share is 14.1%.


The three cities topping the list all host major military installations, which is why they rely more on federal employment than DC.


Colorado Springs has Peterson Air Force Base, Virginia Beach has Naval Station Norfolk, and Honolulu has Pearl Harbor.


But many other U.S. cities—all located throughout the Sunbelt—have job sectors in which the federal government plays a significant role. These include Ogden-Clearfield, Utah (11.1%), El Paso (11%) and San Diego (10%).


In addition, federal agencies provide between 5% and 10% of all jobs in Augusta, Georgia; Baltimore, Maryland; Charleston, South Carolina; San Antonio, Texas; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Dayton, Ohio, Columbia, South Carolina; Jacksonville, Florida; Tucson, Arizona; and Albuquerque, New Mexico.


Most of these states are Republican friendly, Florida points out.


“At the end of the day, it is America’s red states that appear more heavily tied to the levels of federal employment than their blue state counterparts, setting up a fundamental irony about the locations of the most ardent ‘starve-the-beast’ supporters of smaller government,” he wrote.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

America's Federal Employment Belt (by Richard Florida, Atlantic Cities)


Leave a comment