If the Evans national economic scenario holds up, metropolitan Washington will escape the recession altogether.

In large measure, this reflects the unusual strength of Virginia's economy in 1980, both in the Washington suburbs and throughout the state. The D.C. economy has been flat and Maryland has suffered from widespread industrial layoffs.

But in the Old Dominion, observes College of William & Mary professor Leland Traywick, "the recession is not having a strong influence."

Among key indicators he monitors for a monthly survey, construction starts were down sharply in June and new auto registrations plummeted 17 1/2 percent. wBut statewide retail sales were off only 0.6 percent from last year, nonagricultual unemployment was up only 0.4 percent and the volume of checking account transactions (which reflect total dollar volume of business) soared 31 1/2 percent vs. a normal rate of 20-25 percent.

This indicates, said Traywick, that "the Commonwealth is in quite good shape economically when compared with the fall in gross national product."

Separately, a poll by Virginia Commonwealth University economist Max Moszer, of Richmond, showed a sharp gain in consumer confidence. Only 49 percent of those surveyed in July (vs. 74 percent in May and June) expected the national economy to worsen in the next 12 months. Only 17 percent expected their personal financial condition to worsen, compared with 74 percent in June.