Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG), which recently conducted a five-year review of the economy in the Washington, D.C., region, found that the area has experienced new construction, job growth and more residents, according to theĀ Washington Business Journal. Between 2003 and 2007, the region added more than 182,000 jobs and more than 275,000 residents.

Fairfax County led in labor force growth by adding 51,959 jobs, followed by the District, which added 29,400 jobs, and Loudoun County, which added 24,799 jobs.

Fairfax County also led in new commercial development in 2007 with nearly 6.6 million square feet of projects, followed by the District with 4.9 million square feet of projects.

In 2007, commercial construction projects added about 32.8 million square feet of new space to the Washington, D.C., area.

However, only 18 percent of all new projects were located adjacent to Metrorail stations compared with 26 percent in 2006. Fifty-six projects totaling more that six million square feet were started near Metrorail stations in 2007.

Ludwig Gaines, chairman of MWCOG’s metropolitan development policy committee, says developers should take advantage of these locations.

“We need to refocus our efforts and message so we take the opportunities to develop around Metrorail and regional activity centers,” he says.