The District of Columbia’s economy is also largely dependent on commuters, given that 70% of its workers lived outside the city before the pandemic, according to a May report from the D.C. Policy Center.
With more of those workers telecommuting — and the nonpartisan D.C. Policy Center noting that the metropolitan area has a higher-than-usual share of jobs that can be done from home — office occupancy remained low at the time of the report, at about 37% citywide and 35% in the downtown area.
“Downtowns and neighborhoods that have multiple uses are more resilient to economic downturns as they do not rely heavily on one use-type, such as office space,” the report said. “When employment is down, versatile places can still attract residents, shoppers, or other visitors. The District’s ability to evolve to become more resilient may take time, but in the immediate term, incremental changes, such as placemaking or establishing a new identity for downtown beyond an office district, can help to increase foot traffic.”