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2023 Q2 Econ Focus Cover Image
Second Quarter 2023

In this issue: shrinking office demand, Virginia's data center industry, AI and bank supervision, and more.

Cover Story

Image showing the side of a glass office building with workspaces throughout.

The persistence of hybrid work has left many wondering about the future of offices. With workers coming in less often, some companies have decided that they need less space. What does that mean for the banks that finance commercial real estate?

Thomas I. Barkin

Last year, the Richmond Fed had over 1,700 community engagements — meetings with bankers, business and community leaders, workers, and public officials. These conversations help us see the region's economy more clearly.

A woman network engineer working on equipment in a wiring closet.

Leveraging some of its natural advantages, Virginia has encouraged the industry's growth through tax incentives and other initiatives. It is now home to hundreds of data centers, many in Northern Virginia's "Data Center Alley."


Headshot of Daron Acemoglu at standard size.

MIT's Daron Acemoglu, the author of Why Nations Fail and Power and Progress, on Henry Ford, making AI worker-friendly, and how democracy improves economic growth.


Financial institutions have approached AI with cautious optimism, developing and implementing AI-based applications for things like customer service chatbots, detecting fraud, and evaluating creditworthiness. Bank supervisors are learning how to adapt.

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