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Washington Metro’s Unemployment Adjusts to Seasonal Shifts in January, Economy Stronger than One Year Ago

Friday, March 17, 2017

(Washington, DC)The District of Columbia Department of Employment Services (DOES) reported today that the preliminary January job estimates show a decrease of 41,700 jobs for a total of 2,626,200 jobs in the Washington Metropolitan Division. The private sector decreased by 32,500 jobs, while the public sector declined by 9,200 jobs. The Washington Metropolitan Division's not seasonally adjusted January 2017 unemployment rate was 4.0 percent, which is up 0.4 percentage points from the December rate of 3.6 percent. The Washington Metropolitan Division unemployment rate was 4.2 percent in January 2016, but has since decreased by 0.2 percentage points to the current 4.0 percent.

Over-the-Month Area Civilian Labor Force, Employment and Unemployment Data

The total civilian labor force in the Washington Metropolitan Division for January 2017 was 2,654,800, of which 2,549,000 were employed and 105,800 were unemployed. The unemployment rate was 4.0 percent. The total civilian labor force in the Suburban Ring of the Communities surrounding the District of Columbia was 2,944,500, of which 2,838,500 were employed and 106,000 were unemployed. The unemployment rate for this area was 3.6 percent. In the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes the Washington Metropolitan Division and the Bethesda-Gaithersburg-Frederick, Maryland Metropolitan Division, the civilian labor force was 3,341,600, of which 3,212,100 were employed and 129,500 were unemployed. The unemployment rate for this area was 3.9 percent. For the month, the unemployment rates for the Washington Metropolitan Division, the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Suburban Ring increased by 0.4 percentage points each.

Over-the-Year Area Civilian Labor Force, Employment and Unemployment Data

The Washington Metropolitan Division’s civilian labor force increased over the year by 56,500, while the number of employed increased by 59,000, and the number of unemployed decreased by 2,600. The civilian labor force for the Suburban Ring increased over the year by 59,800, while the number of employed increased by 61,500, and the number of unemployed decreased by 1,600. Meanwhile, the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area’s civilian labor force increased by 67,500, while the number of employed increased by 71,200 and the number of unemployed decreased by 3,600. For the year, the unemployment rate for the Washington Metropolitan Division and the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area decreased by 0.2 percentage points each, while the unemployment rate for the Suburban Ring decreased by 0.1 percentage point.

Metropolitan Division’s Job Growth

In January, total wage and salary employment in the Washington Metropolitan Division decreased over the month by (41,700) jobs. The private sector decreased by (32,500) jobs, while the public sector decreased by (9,200) jobs over the month. One private sector along with the federal government had an over-the-month job gain. Job gains were registered in mining, logging and construction which gained 1,100 jobs. Eight private sectors along with the state and local government had over-the-month job losses. Job losses was registered in leisure and hospitality which lost (6,700) jobs; trade, transportation, and utilities lost (14,200) jobs; other services lost (2,700) jobs; manufacturing lost (700) jobs; financial activities lost (700) jobs; professional and business services lost (6,400) jobs; information lost (100) jobs; and educational and health services lost (2,100) jobs. Government overall lost (9,200) jobs over the month. State government lost (7,700) jobs, while the federal government increased by (100) jobs, and the local government decreased by (1,600) jobs.

During the last 12 months, employment in the Washington Metropolitan Division increased by 46,000 jobs. The private sector added 39,100 jobs, while the public sector gained 6,900 jobs. Leisure and hospitality reported the greatest year-over growth, up 15,600 jobs. Six other private sector industries along with the federal and local government posted year-over job gains: Educational and health services gained 5,100 jobs; other services gained 1,600 jobs; professional and business services gained 14,800 jobs; trade, transportation and utilities gained 2,400 jobs; manufacturing gained (300) jobs; and mining, logging and construction gained 2,400 jobs. Information recorded the greatest year-over downturn, down (3,100) jobs. Meanwhile, financial activities had no over-the-year job change.

Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area Explanations

Estimated Labor Force and Employment for the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Division includes: The District of Columbia, Virginia Cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Fredericksburg, Manassas, Manassas Park and the Virginia Counties of Arlington, Clarke, Fairfax, Fauquier, Loudon, Prince William, Spotsylvania, Stafford, Warren, Rappahannock and Culpeper; the Maryland Counties of Calvert, Charles, and Prince Georges; and the West Virginia County of Jefferson.

The estimates for the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area will be the summation of the estimates for the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Division (contained in this release) and the Bethesda-Gaithersburg-Frederick, MD Metropolitan Division (to be released by the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation).

Data reflects the 2016 annual benchmark revisions.

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