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Washington Metro Division Unemployment Rate Decreases Slightly to 5.5 Percent

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Washington Metro Division Unemployment Rate Decreases Slightly to 5.5 Percent

(Washington, DC) - The District of Columbia Department of Employment Services (DOES) reported today that the preliminary August job estimates show a decrease of 19,800 jobs for a total of 2,453,400 jobs in the Washington Metropolitan Division. The public sector decreased by 13,000 jobs, accompanied by a decrease of 6,800 private sector jobs. The Washington Metropolitan Division's not seasonally adjusted August 2012 unemployment rate was 5.5 percent, which is down 0.2 percent from the July rate of 5.7 percent.

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

The total civilian labor force in the Washington Metropolitan Division for August 2012 was 2,557,800, of which 2,416,800 were employed and 141,000 were unemployed. The unemployment rate was 5.5 percent.  The total civilian labor force in the Suburban Ring of the communities surrounding the District of Columbia was 2,858,900, of which 2,714,200 were employed and 144,600 were unemployed. The unemployment rate for this area was 5.1 percent. In the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes the Metropolitan Division and the Bethesda-Gaithersburg-Frederick, Maryland Metropolitan Division, the civilian labor force was 3,216,600, of which 3,040,300 were employed and 176,200 were unemployed. The unemployment rate for this area was 5.5 percent. For the month, the unemployment rate for the Metropolitan Division decreased by 0.2 percent, while the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Suburban Ring decreased by 0.1 percent 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 31,800, while the number of employed increased by 45,000, and the number of unemployed decreased by 13,300. The civilian labor force for the Suburban Ring over the year increased by 23,400, while the number of employed increased by 33,000, and the number of unemployed decreased by 9,700. Meanwhile the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area’s civilian labor force increased by 36,700, while the number of employed increased by 50,600, and the number of unemployed decreased by 14,000.  For the year, the unemployment rate for the Metropolitan Division decreased by 0.6 percent, the Metropolitan Statistical Area decreased by 0.5 percent, and the Suburban Ring decreased by 0.3 percent.

Metropolitan Division’s Job Growth

Total wage and salary employment in the Washington Metropolitan Division decreased over the month by 19,800 jobs. The private sector decreased by 6,800 jobs, and the public sector decreased by 13,000 jobs. Three private sectors had over-the-month job gains. Meanwhile, six sectors along with the federal, state and local government had over-the-month job losses. Job gains were registered in financial activities, which gained 300 jobs; mining, logging, and construction gained 1,700 jobs and information gained 700 jobs. Job losses were registered in educational and health services, which lost 2,100 jobs; trade, transportation, and utilities lost 500 jobs; professional and business services lost 3,300 jobs; leisure and hospitality lost 2,300 jobs; manufacturing lost 300 jobs and other services lost 1,000 jobs. Government decreased by 13,000 jobs. State government lost 11,900 jobs, while the federal government lost 300 jobs, and the local government dropped 800 jobs.

During the last twelve months, employment in the Washington Metropolitan Division increased by 28,700 jobs. The private sector added 28,000 jobs, while the public sector gained 700 jobs. Educational and health services reported the greatest year-over growth, up 10,000 jobs. Six other private sector industries posted year-over job gains: financial activities (up 4,400 jobs); mining, logging, and construction (up 5,000 jobs); leisure and hospitality (up 8,200 jobs); professional and business services (up 3,000 jobs); manufacturing (up 300 jobs) and information (up 1,000 jobs). Trade, transportation, and utilities recorded the greatest year-over downturn, down 3,800 jobs. One other private sector industry posted a year-over job loss:  other services (down 100 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, and the Virginia Counties of Arlington, Clarke, Fairfax, Loudon, Prince William, Spotsylvania, Stafford, and Warren County; 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 2011 annual benchmark revisions.

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 (BLS) with the production of preliminary estimates for March 2011.  Concurrent with this transition, the BLS 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 BLS Web site .