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Washington Metro’s Unemployment Rate Improves to 3.9 Percent in November

Thursday, December 29, 2016

(Washington, DC) - The District of Columbia Department of Employment Services (DOES) reported today that the preliminary November job estimates show an increase of 5,800 jobs for a total of 2,684,100 jobs in the Washington Metropolitan Division. The private sector increased by 2,700 jobs, while the public sector gained 3,100 jobs. The Washington Metropolitan Division's not seasonally adjusted November 2016 unemployment rate was 3.9 percent, which is down 0.1 percentage point from the October rate of 4.0 percent. The Washington Metropolitan Division unemployment rate was 4.1 percent in November 2015, but has since decreased by 0.2 percentage points to the current 3.9 percent.

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

The total civilian labor force in the Washington Metropolitan Division for November 2016 was 2,648,500, of which 2,546,500 were employed and 102,000 were unemployed.  The unemployment rate was 3.9 percent.  The total civilian labor force in the Suburban Ring of the Communities surrounding the District of Columbia was 2,936,700, of which 2,836,200 were employed and 100,500 were unemployed.  The unemployment rate for this area was 3.4 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 3,335,900, of which 3,212,000 were employed and 123,900 were unemployed.  The unemployment rate for this area was 3.7 percent.  For the month, the unemployment rate for the Washington Metropolitan Division decreased by 0.1 percentage point, while unemployment rates for the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Suburban Ring decreased by 0.2 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 35,900, while the number of employed increased by 41,500, and the number of unemployed decreased by (5,600). The civilian labor force for the Suburban Ring increased over the year by 34,700, while the number of employed increased by 42,000, and the number of unemployed decreased by (7,400).  Meanwhile, the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area’s civilian labor force increased by 42,600, while the number of employed increased by 52,400 and the number of unemployed decreased by (9,800).  For the year, the unemployment rate for the Washington Metropolitan Division decreased by 0.2 percentage points, while the unemployment rate for the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area decreased by 0.4 percentage points and unemployment rate for the Suburban Ring decreased by 0.3 percentage points.

Metropolitan Division’s Job Growth

Total wage and salary employment in the Washington Metropolitan Division increased over the month by 5,800 jobs. The private sector increased by 2,700 jobs, and the public sector increased by 3,100 jobs over the month.  Four private sectors had over-the-month job gains. Job gains were registered in trade, transportation, and utilities which gained (6,700 jobs); professional and business services gained (3,000 jobs); manufacturing gained (100 jobs); and information gained (300 jobs) .  Five private sectors along with the federal, state and local government had over-the-month job losses. Job losses was registered in educational and health services which lost (1,800 jobs); other services lost (200 jobs); financial activities lost (300 jobs); leisure and hospitality lost (3,000 jobs); and  mining, logging and construction lost (2,100 jobs).  Government overall  gained (3,100 jobs) over the month. State government gained (600 jobs), while the federal government increased  by (800 jobs), and the local government increased by (1,700 jobs).

During the last 12 months, employment in the Washington Metropolitan Division increased by 58,800 jobs. The private sector added 48,800 jobs, while the public sector gained 10,000 jobs. Professional and business services reported the greatest year-over growth, up 23,300 jobs. Six other private sector industries along with the federal, state and local government posted year-over job gains: Educational and health services gained 9,200 jobs; mining, logging and construction gained 3,000 jobs; other services gained 1,100 jobs; leisure and hospitality gained 7,100 jobs; trade, transportation and utilities gained 10,500 jobs; and manufacturing gained 100 jobs. Information recorded the greatest year-over downturn, down (1,800) jobs. Financial activities lost (1,000) jobs.

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 2015 annual benchmark revisions.