Where the jobs are

Larry Ribstein —  20 October 2011

The WSJ reports:

Washington, D.C., nosed out San Jose, Calif., as the nation’s highest-income metropolitan region, fueled mainly by its army of attorneys, consultants, lobbyists and outside government contractors.

Census data for 2010 show median household income was $84,523 in the D.C. area, compared with $83,944 for the San Jose region, the epicenter of Silicon Valley. Both numbers are well above the median income of about $50,000 for the nation as a whole. While Washington’s incomes in 2010 were lower than in 2009, paychecks in the D.C. region have been more stable overall. * * *

While government work helps account for Washington’s lower jobless rate, its heftier income level is due to the lawyers, lobbyists and contractors whose salaries far outstrip their public-sector counterparts.

Now of course one could reasonably say that these Washington workers are high-paid because they are intelligent, well-trained, and have valuable expertise.  The problem is that all these intelligent, well-trained experts are being funneled into government.

The rise of Washington vis a vis Silicon Valley is a trenchant commentary on modern life.

Larry Ribstein


Professor of Law, University of Illinois College of Law

5 responses to Where the jobs are


    What is everybody complaining about. Obama has created all kinds of high paying jobs, for gov workers, contractors, lawyers, and lobbyists. Of course the private sector hasn’t been doing much, and the debt baloons, but those are trivial problems. The people that really count, the 1% that have gov connections, are doing great, at least until the private sector that pays the bills for it all finally collapses, and we join Greece.


    trenchant commentary on modern life

    the move shows why this blog is so wrong.

    Keynes greatest insight is that in the long run we are all dead. Thus, smart people have no choice but to move to Washington for security. The answer would be for employers to guarantee life long security, but of course they won’t. No they instead want to be able to hire cheap labor from abroad.

    What you fail to mention is that all those lawyers are sons and daughters of Engineers.


      It’s easy to “guarantee life long security” with other people’s money.

      Do you plan to be one of the first employers to do so with your own?


    My slogan:

    Send the Recession to Washington

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  1. Instapundit » Blog Archive » WHERE THE JOBS ARE: Moving from Silicon Valley to Washington, DC. I’m pretty sure this is bad for … - October 25, 2011

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