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District Unemployment Rate Improves to 5.8 Percent, Down from 7.5 Percent When Bowser Administration Took Office

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

(Washington, DC) – The District of Columbia Department of Employment Services reported today that the seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate was 5.8 percent in December – down 0.2 percentage points from the reported November unemployment rate, down 0.7 percentage points from one year ago, and down 1.7 percentage points since Mayor Muriel Bowser was sworn into office on January 5, 2015.
 
The number of employed District residents grew by 2,400 from 372,200 in November 2016 to 374,600 in December 2016.  “The District is growing, our economy is thriving and DC residents and businesses are benefitting from that prosperity,” said Mayor Bowser. “While we still have more work to do, my Administration remains particularly focused on expanding economic opportunities for our hardest to employ residents.  As our economy continues to grow, we have an obligation to ensure that every resident looking for an opportunity has the skills they need to succeed in today’s workforce.”  The District’s preliminary December job estimates show a decrease of (600) jobs, for a total of 788,100 jobs in the District. The private sector decreased by (1,400) jobs while the public sector payrolls increased by 800 jobs. The numbers are drawn from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) through its monthly survey of the District of Columbia’s employers. 
 
Based on more complete reporting from employers, previously released November estimates were revised upward to show an over-the-month (October 16- November 16) total non-farm employment increase of 1,700 jobs.  
 
Employment Overview

  • Trade, Transportation, and Utilities sectors increased by 100 jobs, after having an increase of 200 jobs in November. With employment at 33,300, jobs are down by (1,100) or -3.2 percent from a year ago.
  • Educational and Health Services sector decreased by (1,500 jobs), after an increase of 200 jobs in the prior month. With employment sector totals at 131,700, jobs are up by 2,800 or 2.2 percent from a year ago. 
  • Information sector decreased by (100) jobs, after an increase of 100 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 16,800, jobs are down by (200) or -1.2 percent from one year ago.
  • Financial Activities sector increased by 100 jobs, after a decrease of (300) jobs the prior month. With employment at 30,500, jobs are down by 100 or -0.3 percent from one year ago. 
  • Manufacturing sector had no over-the-month change in jobs, after having no change in jobs in the prior month. With employment sector totals at 1,200, jobs were up by 100 or 9.1 percent from one year ago.
  • Professional and Business Services sector increased by 300 jobs, after an increase of 1,200 jobs in November. With employment at 168,400, jobs are up by 6,400 or 4.0 percent from a year ago.
  • Construction sector decreased by (200) jobs, after a decrease of (100) jobs in November. With employment at 14,100, jobs are down by (100) or -0.7 percent over the year.
  • Other Services sector decreased by (200) jobs, after having a decrease of (200) jobs the prior month. With employment at 71,100, jobs are up by 500 or 0.7 percent from a year ago.
  • Leisure and Hospitality sector increased by 100 jobs, after a decrease of (300) jobs in November. With employment at 76,300, jobs are up by 2,500 or 3.4 percent over the year.

 Labor Force Overview


  • The number of employed District residents increased by 2,400 over the month to 374,600. The civilian labor force increased by 1,700 to 397,700. 
  • One year ago, total employment was 365,000 and the civilian labor force was 390,700.  The number of unemployed was 25,700, and the unemployment rate was 6.6 percent.

NOTES: The December 2016 final and January 2017 preliminary unemployment rate and survey of jobs data along with the 2016 Annual Benchmark data for the District will be released on Monday, March 13, 2017. Historical jobs and labor force estimates for the District of Columbia and detailed labor market information is available at: http://does.dc.gov/page/labor-statistics
 

Technical Notes: Estimates of industry employment and unemployment levels are arrived through the use of two different monthly surveys. 
 
Industry employment data is derived from the Current Employment Statistics (CES) survey, a monthly survey of business establishments conducted by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of the US Department of Labor, which provides estimates of employment, hours, and earnings data broken down by industry for the nation as a whole, all states, and most major metropolitan areas (often referred to as the “establishment” survey). 
 
Resident employment and unemployment data are mainly derived from the District’s portion of the national Current Population Survey (CPS), a household survey conducted each month by the US Census Bureau under contract with BLS, which provides input to the Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) program (often referred to as the “household” survey). 
 
Both industry and household estimates are revised each month based on additional information from updated survey reports compiled by BLS. In addition, these estimates are benchmarked (revised) annually based on actual counts from the District’s Unemployment Compensation Law administrative records and other data.
 
Data reflects 2015 annual benchmark revisions.
Industry employment data is not seasonally adjusted.