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District’s Unemployment Rate Drops to 9.3 Percent

Monday, June 18, 2012
May job estimates show a decrease of 100 jobs, for a total of 738,200 jobs in the District.

The District of Columbia Department of Employment Services reported today that the preliminary May job estimates show a decrease of 100 jobs, for a total of 738,200 jobs in the District. The private sector lost 300 jobs, while the public sector payrolls increased by 200 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.  

The District’s unemployment rate was 9.3 percent in May and is 0.2 percent lower from the previous month. The number of unemployed District residents decreased by 400 from 33,300 in April 2012 to 32,900 in May 2012.

Based on more complete reporting from employers, previously released April estimates were unchanged over the month from (March-April), staying at a total non-farm employment gain of 2,700 jobs. The April revised unemployment rate stays at 9.5 percent.

Employment Overview

  • Trade, Transportation, and Utilities gained 100 jobs, after a 100 job loss in April. With employment at 27,400, the sector is up by 100 jobs or 0.4 percent from a year ago.
  • Professional and Business Services lost 800 jobs, after a 200 job gain in April. With employment at 150,200, jobs are up by 300 or 0.2 percent from a year ago.
  • Leisure and Hospitality gained 1,300 jobs, after a gain of 1,100 jobs in April. With employment at 65,600, jobs are up by 2,500 or 4.0 percent over the year.
  • Financial Activities had no change in jobs over the month, after a 300 job increase in April. With employment at 26,900, jobs are up by 100 or 0.4 percent from one year ago.
  • Educational and Health Services decreased by 1,200 jobs, after a gain of 1,200 jobs the prior month. With employment at 123,000, jobs are up by 9,400 or 8.3 percent from a year ago.
  • Other Services increased by 100 jobs, after an increase of 100 jobs the prior month. At 69,200, employment is up by 2,300 or 3.4 percent from a year ago.
  • Construction gained 100 jobs, after a gain of 100 jobs in April. At 13,100, employment is up by 1,200 jobs or 10.1 percent from a year ago.
  • Information had no over-the-month job change, after having no over-the-month job change the prior month. At 18,300, employment is down by 200 jobs or -1.1 percent from one year ago.
  • Manufacturing gained 100 jobs, after having no job change the prior month. With employment at 1,100, jobs are up by 100 or 10.0 percent from one year ago. Employment in manufacturing has remained constantly stable. Manufacturing is the smallest sector in the District, accounting for less than 0.2 percent of total payroll employment.

Labor Force Overview

  • The number of District residents employed increased by 3,100 over the month to 319,500. The civilian labor force increased by 2,700 to 352,400.
  • One year ago, total employment was 308,300 and the civilian labor force was 343,400.  The number of unemployed was 35,100, and the unemployment rate was 10.2 percent.


  • Wage and Salary Employment by Industry and Place of Work [PDF]
  • Employment Status for the Civilian Population [PDF]
  • Data by Ward [PDF]

NOTES: The May final and June 2012 preliminary unemployment rate and survey of jobs data for the District will be released on Friday, July 20, 2012. Historical jobs and labor force estimates for the District of Columbia and detailed labor market information is available at on the DOES site under Labor Statistics.

Technical Notes: Estimates of industry employment and unemployment levels are arrived at through the use of two different monthly surveys.

Industry employment data are derived through 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 2011 annual benchmark revisions.

Industry employment data is not seasonally adjusted.

Announcement: Changes to the Procedures for Producing Current Employment Statistics (CES) State Estimates

Production of March Preliminary Current Employment Statistics Data

The production of State and metropolitan area Current Employment Statistics (CES) estimates has transitioned from State Workforce Agencies to the Bureau of Labor Statistics with the production of preliminary estimates for March 2011.  Concurrent with this transition, the Bureau of Labor Statistics will implement several methodological changes to standardize the estimation approach across States.  While these changes will reduce the potential for statistical bias in State and metropolitan area estimates, they may increase the month-to-month variability of the estimates.  More detailed information on the changes to procedures for producing CES estimates is available on the Bureau of Labor Statistics Website.