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The Top 12 American Boomtowns

By Bloomberg Rankings and Nikhil Hutheesing - 2013-04-24T14:48:01Z

Photograph by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Company Symbol % Change
7 of 15

Washington, D.C. Metro Area

2007 Population: 5,306,565
2011 Population: 5,703,948
Percent Change: 7.49
GDP Compound Annual Growth: 1.46%

People in the Washington area, which includes neighboring towns in Virginia and Maryland, were buffered from the recession partly because of the federal government, which employs more than 140,000 people. Another draw to the region: the defense and civilian contracting sectors with big employers such as Raytheon Co., General Dynamics Corp. and Northrop Grumman Corp. For younger job seekers, the tech industry, which is growing faster here than in any other metropolitan area, is a big lure, according to Praxis Strategy Group. All this is leading to steady growth. In 2012 the population was 5.8 million. At 5.5 percent, unemployment is below the national average.