Jos. A. Bank's Arrival

In Pages of Vanity Fair

Of all the hip fashions likely to be mentioned in a national magazine like Vanity Fair, you wouldn't readily expect one of them to be Jos. A. Bank, the Hampstead, Md.-based maker of conventional menswear. But in the March issue of the magazine, in a feature on power restaurants, Jos. A Bank gets the nod as the fashion to wear at Washington's power place, the Bombay Club. The clientele at the Indian restaurant, just steps from the White House, is "the secret government," says Vanity Fair, so the look to have is the dark suits Jos. A. Bank does so well.

It may strike some as a minor accolade, but the mention in the magazine has everyone at the clothing chain patting themselves on the back, given the company's long campaign to polish its image and product lines. "They say when you've been mentioned in Vanity Fair, you've arrived," said Neal Black, the chain's executive vice president of merchandising.

Gloomy Jobs Picture,

But a Brighter Horizon

The Washington area had no net job growth last year, a far cry from the annual average gain of 55,000 for the region since 1980.

But Stephen S. Fuller, a regional economist at George Mason University, said he thinks that 2003 will prove to be a turnaround year in the region. He said the Washington area might gain 40,000 new jobs this year, with Northern Virginia leading the way, just as it did before technology companies started falling by the wayside, with about 22,000 of the added slots.

Moreover, he predicts that an additional 57,000 will be added in 2004, with 31,000 of them in Northern Virginia and the rest of them in suburban Maryland and the District. "We're in awfully good shape" compared with other cities around the United States, Fuller said, "because Uncle Sam protects us so well."

That is particularly true now with the ongoing federal ramp-up to provide more staffing for homeland-security operations, as well as private companies hiring personnel to work on defense and intelligence contracts related to possible war with Iraq and the fight against terrorism.