“They told me in 2010 everything would change,” Sledge said. “Here it is in February, and nothing has changed.”
With thousands of new federal and government-related jobs, Washington has benefited from some of the circumstances that have caused Main Streets to go dark elsewhere. The government has taken a greater oversight role on the financial sector, and companies have been drawn to the area because of its economic stability.
But in ways less visible to those in the region’s government-dominated cocoon, things are as bad as in the rest of the country. About 42,000 local jobs were lost over the past year, most of them in less-affluent areas and among lower-paying positions in retail and construction.