Washington, D.C. is the capital of the United States and one of the thirty largest cities in the United States. The Washington'Arlington'Alexandria metropolitan area is the eighth largest metropolitan area in the United States. As one might expect, the Washington metropolitan area is a center for business, commerce, and government.
The Federal Government is responsible for almost thirty percent of Washington employment, and also a major employer in the surrounding metropolitan area. Behind the Federal Government, the region's major universities and hospitals are also major employers.
There are over ten Fortune 500 companies located in the metropolitan Washington area. Many major defense contractors have operations in and around Washington, D.C., including General Dynamics, Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC), Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), and Orbital Sciences Corporation.
In 2006, Inc. magazine ranked the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria area eighth on its list of "Best Cities for Doing Business" in the United States in the large cities category. The criteria used "emphasizes the robustness of a region's growth". Large and significant cities such as Washington, D.C. who have a "tangible effect on global affairs through socioeconomic, cultural, and/or political means" (Wikipedia) get ranked as "Global Cities" (also known as world cities or world-class cities) by the Globalization and World Cities Study Group & Network (GaWC). GaWC has three tiers of ranking, alpha (first-tier), beta (second-tier) and gamma (third tier). Washington, D.C. is one of eleven cities in the United States ranked as a "World City". Washington, D.C. was ranked as a "Gamma World City" by GaWC, on a par with Boston, Dallas, and Houston.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Washington, D.C. ranks in the top thirty on the list of US cities who receive the most annual funding from the NIH.
The Washington D.C. area has a highly educated workforce. More than 15% of Washington D.C. residents hold a graduate degree. The number of scientists, technicians, and Ph.D.s working in the Metropolitan D.C. area is among the highest in the United States.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, major industries in and around Washington include (ranked by size of workforce):
- Professional & Business Services
- Educational & Health Services
- Leisure & Hospitality
- Financial Activities
- Trade, Transportation, and Utilities
The Washington metropolitan area is served by three major airports, the Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, and Washington Dulles International Airport. Dulles ranks 13th in the United States for for nonstop international air travel according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
Some major companies of note in and around Washington, D.C. include:
- AES Corporation
- Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc.
- Capital One
- Coventry Health Care
- Fannie Mae
- Gannett (publisher of USA Today)
- Harman International. Industries
- Lockheed Martin
- Marriott International
- NVR Incorporated
- Pepco Holdings
- Sprint Nextel Corporation
- SLM Corporation
- Washington Post
- WGL Holdings
Some of the major business organizations in and around Washington, D.C. include:
- The Arlington Chamber of Commerce
- The Alexandria Chamber of Commerce
- The DC Chamber of Commerce (DCCC)
- The District of Columbia: Business Resource Center
- The Downtown DC BID (Business Improvement District)
The Washington Business Journal, and the Business Section of the Washington Post are excellent sources of information on business in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.