The Interns Are Boosting the Economy

But scoffing at callow 20-somethings trying to break into the professional world ignores what these temporary employees — estimates range from 20,000 to 40,000 — bring to Washington (besides a willingness to do jobs no one else wants, such as sorting faxes).

Most important? Cash.

Stacey Price, executive director of the independent-business nonprofit group Think Local First D.C., says 68 cents of each dollar spent at an independent local business goes back to the community. If interns spend a dollar a day (or even a week), Price says, “we’re automatically putting hundreds of thousands of dollars into the local economy here in the summer just from interns.”

As someone who has been a summer intern in Washington D.C., I know that if all the interns decided to go on strike one summer, or go backpacking in Europe instead, productivity in Washington would come pretty much to a screeching halt. Lots of work is being done on the backs of summer interns. It’s also interesting to see that money interns are spending in Adams Morgan, or Georgetown, or wherever the youngs are hanging out now, is doing its work to boost the local economy. It’s even more interesting to me that a lot of these interns are unpaid, so the money they are bringing into the local economy is coming mostly from outside the city—from parents, or savings accounts, or from part-time jobs taken on to pay the bills. Thank your interns, everyone.

Also, we’d love to do an intern diaries series, so if you’ve had a particularly good (or bad) experience, we’d love to hear about it.


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