Another indicator of the decline of federal spending and its impact on the Metropolitan Washington economy
DC is not Las Vegas, where the massive national computing and consumer electronics exhibitions tend to be held. Here, the big business in computing is the federal government. So the "FOSE" (Federal Office Systems Exhibition) show was about the biggest, with 20,000+ attendees and major exhibitors. (The Association of the US Army show--big on armaments--is probably just as big or bigger.)
The Washington Post reported the other day that FOSE is now kaput ("With the end of FOSE, government dependent trade shows take yet another hit"), so the 2014 show was the last, even if the website still lists show dates for 2015, as it hasn't been updated to reflect the decision.
FOSE in 2009. Flickr photo by Joe Flood.
According to the article, attendance at trade shows relying on federal government workers as attendees are down about 30%. I know training budgets have taken a big hit as well, which impacts various contractors.
As mentioned previously, Congress isn't into investing in federal buildings housing federal workers, especially if those agencies are regulators, and especially if those buildings are in DC, which lacks voting Congressmembers.
And in the comments, charlie mentions that Rosslyn, one of the Arlington county submarkets that has office buildings as tall or taller than those downtown, has a 30% vacancy rate right now, although that's partly due to the age of the buildings and the increased prominence and dominance of Tysons Corner and Reston as office districts and competitors for tenants.