Bailey McConnell

Former Research Director, Rivlin Initiative
D.C. Policy Center

Bailey McConnell is Research Director for the D.C. Policy Center’s Alice M. Rivlin Initiative for Economic Policy & Competitiveness. In this role, she assists with the management and implementation of the Policy Center’s economic and competitiveness research. Prior to joining the D.C. Policy Center, Bailey worked as a Research Analyst in the Washington, D.C. office of HR&A Advisors, a real estate consulting firm. She has also worked as an Legislative Intern with the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and as an Economic Opportunity and Financial Inclusion Intern with the National League of Cities. 

Bailey is originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Boston University. 

You can reach Bailey at

Written By Bailey McConnell

D.C.’s household growth is predominantly driven by singles aged 25 to 34

Recently, the main source of population growth in the District shifted from net in-migration to natural growth. During the same period, the city experienced slower growth in tax filers relative to taxable incomes and income tax revenue. Outmigration, net of those who moved into the city,  resulted in a loss of over…

October 3, 2023 | Bailey McConnell

2023 State of Business Report: Doing Business Under Fiscal Distress

Executive summary The past three years have been turbulent for many businesses in the District of Columbia. The pandemic shifted regional labor dynamics and economic activity away from urban job centers, in turn weakening the District’s economic competitive position.  As people spend less time in the city and more time in the…

September 28, 2023 | Bailey McConnell

Chart of the week: D.C. business applications are still up versus 2019, but slowing down compared to early pandemic

In the first year of the pandemic, one bright spot in D.C.’s economy was an uptick in start-up businesses. Business applications with a high likelihood in transitioning into a business with a payroll (high propensity business applications) were up by 8 percent in 2020 the previous year. The trend continued into 2021,…

September 22, 2023 | Bailey McConnell

Chart of the week: Are D.C. commuters self-selecting out of longer-distance commuters, or are their commutes just going faster?

Prior D.C. Policy Center research has shown that since the onset of the pandemic, fewer workers have reported their place of work as D.C. because of the continued popularity of remote work. In 2019, for example, an estimated 779,000 residents of the Washington metropolitan area reported D.C. as their place of work….

July 21, 2023 | Bailey McConnell

5 things we know about regional business migration trends

Business migration trends offer important insights on regional dynamics. While the Washington metropolitan area shares a labor force and many economic strengths, D.C. has, on net, lost businesses to elsewhere in the region. And, though D.C. is strongest at attracting small, young firms, it is still a net exporter of these businesses. This can be an indicator of what businesses are lacking in D.C. and feel that they can get elsewhere. Businesses move for a variety of reasons, but it is possible that these firms need to operate in different environments as they begin to mature, or that they grow out of the city as they hire more employees and increase sales. In the future, a better understanding of why businesses move will be central to D.C.’s future economic success, especially as economic activity has become more dispersed.

June 13, 2023 | Bailey McConnell

Chart of the week: Domestic in-migration is still strongest in the region’s exurbs

New data show that since the peak of the pandemic, population growth has slowed in the exurbs and is improving in D.C. But, domestic in-migration is still strongest in the region’s exurbs.

June 9, 2023 | Bailey McConnell

Worker sprawl in the Washington metropolitan area: Is D.C. still the region’s job hub?

How is job activity is shifting, and what does it mean for the District’s competitiveness in the region? Traditional job data do not account for where workers are working. This can obscure where labor market recovery is taking place. Examining a worker-based measure shows that significant portions of job activity have moved to suburbia and exurbia in occupations where employees can work remotely.

May 1, 2023 | Bailey McConnell

Chart of the week: D.C. has a smaller share of the region’s service-sector jobs now than pre-pandemic, a bellwether of continued economic distress

The pandemic accelerated labor market shifts that present new challenges and risks to large metropolitan areas like the D.C. region. When it comes to attracting talent, D.C. not only competes with neighbors like Arlington, Fairfax, and Montgomery Counties, but also large and small cities across the country. This has always been the case, but now, workers and businesses alike are increasingly mobile thanks to the rise of remote work.

April 28, 2023 | Bailey McConnell

Chart of the week: The share of businesses with at least some employees teleworking is 2x higher in D.C. than the U.S.

Data from the 2022 Business Response Survey—a survey administered by U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to provide timely information to assess the impact of specific events—was released last week. As we begin to emerge from the pandemic, establishments continue to allow telework in D.C.—more so than the rest of the U.S….

March 31, 2023 | Bailey McConnell

Chart of the week: Despite a recent uptick in layoffs and discharges, hiring still lags behind job openings

Layoffs in both D.C. and the entire U.S were up in the second half of 2022 compared to earlier in the year. However, layoffs remain below pre-pandemic levels. And, in D.C., hiring continues to lag historically high levels of job postings.

March 3, 2023 | Bailey McConnell

Chart of the week: Office occupancy rates and remote work

Hybrid work schedules continue to remain popular with most remote-eligible workers coming into the office 2 to 3 days per week. And, office vacancy rates remain high. As of Q4 2022, office vacancy is 17.3 percent in the central business district. Thus, remote work trends still present a risk to D.C.’s future tax base. While the city cannot likely influence worker preferences and behavior, the best way for the city to maintain and grow its tax base in this new post-pandemic environment is to double down on retaining existing and attracting new residents. 

February 24, 2023 | Bailey McConnell

In the second year of the pandemic, D.C. gained early-career workers, but lost high-income residents

Last year, we looked at migration data from 2020 to track demographic shifts in D.C. following the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. We found the ability to telework was driving some workers out, particularly those well-educated and aged 25 to 34. Recently, 2021 data was released, so we look again at migration across three key demographic groups—age, income, and education—to see if our observations from 2020 held in the second year of the pandemic.

February 17, 2023 | Bailey McConnell

What do migration and labor force trends tell us about D.C. and other large, high-cost metro areas?

Many large cities, including D.C., have lost population due to out-migration through the pandemic. Researchers have found that (1) this exodus is pandemic-induced, and (2) many people are leaving behind large, high-cost cities in favor of less populated regions with a lower cost of living. Looking at labor market recovery, we find that lower-cost metro areas have emerged from the pandemic as more economically competitive than their high-cost peers, which may shift workforce dynamics to the D.C. region’s detriment.

October 5, 2022 | Bailey McConnell

Remote work and the future of D.C. (Part 2): What does remote work mean for the District of Columbia’s tax base?

This report is the second in a two-part series focused on building a better understanding of how remote work will impact the District’s future. We estimate how the shift to remote work might impact the city’s tax base and propose next steps to ensuring the District has an upward economic growth trajectory as the city recovers from the pandemic.

July 7, 2022 | Bailey McConnell

Chart of the week: Share of jobs in D.C. with median annual wages > $150,000

Despite a 6 percent decline in employment between 2019 and 2021, total wages earned in the District of Columbia in that same time grew by 7 percent. And, average wages increased by 14 percent—faster than the inflation rate.

June 24, 2022 | Bailey McConnell

Chart of the week: Back to work(ing)

Between May 2021 and May 2022, the District’s labor force has grown by nearly 6,000. The labor force, as estimated by the BLS per today’s data release, is at 386,440—still about 14,323 below pre-pandemic levels. The bad news: this is probably due to population loss including the loss of working adults. The good news: the 6,000 increase is recent, perhaps signaling that employment growth will also pick up. The labor force remained virtually flat between May 2020 and May 2021, and of the 6,000 increase almost 15 percent happened in a single month between April and May of 2022.

June 17, 2022 | Bailey McConnell

Puzzle of the week: Why are D.C.’s withholding taxes growing, if residents and tax filers are leaving?

According to the Internal Revenue Service’s migration data, D.C. lost 15,304 residents and 7,990 tax filers between 2019 and 2020. Pre-pandemic, between 2018 and 2019, D.C. also lost residents and filers, but in the first year of the pandemic, these losses increased greatly. Importantly, 60 percent of the leavers were tax filing units (individuals, couples, or families) that had taxable incomes of $100,000 or more. These are clearly filers with jobs. At the same time, the withholding portion of income tax collections–the income taxes that are directly taken out of paychecks every pay period–is growing at 10 to 11 percent. That means that the wage and salary incomes of District residents are growing despite this loss.

June 10, 2022 | Bailey McConnell

Remote work and the future of D.C. (Part 1): How is remote work changing the geography of work in the District of Columbia?

As remote work is taking hold, it is breaking the relationship between where people live and where they work. Historically, proximity to work has been a key driver of population growth in the District of Columbia. And commuters have been an important source of economic activity, both supporting the local service economy and sustaining the demand for office space. 

May 12, 2022 | Bailey McConnell

Chart of the week: How will the region’s geography of work change if remote work continues?

Remote work is likely here to stay and is breaking the relationship between where we live and where we work. This has implications on the District’s attractiveness, competitiveness, economic growth, and fiscal health. As workers spend less time near their workplaces and more time near their homes, it shifts the geography of…

April 21, 2022 | Bailey McConnell

Demographic shifts in the District of Columbia following the COVID-19 pandemic

Even prior to the pandemic, the District was experiencing decelerating population growth, particularly among the young, educated adults who have traditionally driven growth in the city. Now, the ability to telework may be driving some workers out, particularly those that are well-educated and aged 25 to 34. While it is uncertain whether these moves are temporary or permanent, maintaining and retaining a net inflow of young adult workers is crucial to any city’s ability to attract new businesses, as well as ensure strong fiscal health.

March 15, 2022 | Bailey McConnell

Chart of the week: Are D.C.’s 25-34 year olds leaving the District because of pandemic telework? 

With the rise of teleworking and shifting preferences in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the District of Columbia finds itself at greater risk of losing its young professional population. In the first year of the pandemic, the largest population group that left the District was young adults. Of the residents who moved out of the District in 2020, 54 percent were aged 25 to 34 (margin of error: 0.5 percent).

March 11, 2022 | Bailey McConnell

A new regional playing field: How can D.C. stay economically competitive with its suburban neighbors?

The District’s competitive position within the region has weakened in the past few years. As regional policies and dynamics has changed, the flow of people, businesses, and jobs has changed as well. The region’s suburbs have increased in importance as competing destinations, and this trend has only been amplified by the pandemic. Now, to reset the District’s economic growth trajectory, new approaches to policy may be required.

January 27, 2022 | Bailey McConnell

Is mixed-use the future of downtown D.C.?

Introduction The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have led to a lot of speculation about the future of cities, but many agree that cities, and especially downtowns, will experience some changes in use as people alter how and where they live and work.[1] At the onset of the pandemic, economic activity in…

November 23, 2021 | Bailey McConnell