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Hey Pro Fools,

Here in the metro Washington DC area, especially "inside the Beltway" (for the uninitiated: where Fool HQ's located, the local economy doesn't look so bad. Unemployment has risen a bit year over year, but remains at just 4.7% ( -- well below the national average of 7.6%. Real estate prices have fallen, but nowhere near as far as places like California, Florida, or Las Vegas. The restaurants and bars are still crowded on Friday nights.

Frankly, we're in a bit of a economic bubble here in DC (which could be part of the problem) and that's largely due to the fact that the area's number one employer is still hiring. The employer of whom I speak is of course the Federal government and according to, there are currently 2,500+ federal job openings in the 50 mile radius around DC. That's not even counting all of the non-profit trade associations, lobby groups, government contractors, and law firms based in the area that seem to keep growing larger by the year.

Obviously Jeff nor I believe that the DC area economy is anywhere close to being reflective of the rest of the nation's local economies, so we'd like to hear about the economy in your neck of the woods. Using the power of the Fool community and sharing our experiences will make not only smarter investors, but smarter citizens as well.

So share your thoughts about your local economy -- we're looking forward to reading them.

Foolish best,

Todd Wenning
Pro analyst
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