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Washington Metro’s Unemployment Holds Steady at 2.9 for December

(Washington, DC) - The District of Columbia Department of Employment Services (DOES) reported today that the preliminary December job estimates show an increase of 4,700 jobs for a total of 2,758,500 jobs in the Washington Metropolitan Division. The private sector increased by 3,900 jobs, while the public sector payrolls increased by 800 jobs. The Washington Metropolitan Division's not seasonally adjusted December 2018 unemployment rate was 2.9 percent, which is down 0.2 percentage point from the November rate of 3.1 percent. The Washington Metropolitan Division’s unemployment rate was 3.4 percent in December 2017, which is down 0.5 percentage points from the current unemployment rate of 2.9 percent.

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

The total civilian labor force in the Washington Metropolitan Division for December 2018 was 2,709,300, of which 2,630,900 were employed and 78,400 were unemployed. The unemployment rate was 2.9 percent. The total civilian labor force in the Suburban Ring of the Communities surrounding the District of Columbia was 2,993,800, of which 2,916,300 were employed and 77,500 were unemployed. The unemployment rate for this area was 2.6 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 3,398,100, of which 3,301,000 were employed and 97,100 were unemployed. The unemployment rate for this area was 2.9 percent. For the month, the unemployment rate for the Washington Metropolitan Division was down 0.2 percentage points while the unemployment rates for the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Suburban Ring declined by 0.1 percentage point from the previous month’s rate.

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

The Washington Metropolitan Division’s civilian labor force increased over the year by 20,600, while the number of employed increased by 33,900, and the number of unemployed decreased by 13,300.  The civilian labor force for the Suburban Ring increased over the year by 20,000, while the number of employed increased by 32,800, and the number of unemployed decreased by 12,800. Meanwhile, the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area’s civilian labor force increased by 24,100, while the number of employed increased by 38,900 and the number of unemployed decreased by 14,800. For the year, the unemployment rate for the Washington Metropolitan Division decreased by 0.5 percentage points while the unemployment rates for the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area and Suburban Ring declined by 0.4 percentage points from a year ago.

Metropolitan Division’s Job Growth

Total wage and salary employment in the Washington Metropolitan Division increased over the month by 4,700 jobs. The private sector increased by 3,900 jobs, while the public sector increased by 800 jobs over-the-month. Five private sectors had over-the-month job gains. Job gains were registered in: manufacturing which increased by (300 jobs); trade transportation & utilities increased (5,100 jobs); information increased by (1,300 jobs); professional and business services increased by (300 jobs) and  leisure and hospitality increased (2,200 jobs).  Job decreases were registered in mining, logging & construction which decreased by (2,000 jobs) and financial activities decreased by (200 jobs). Educational and health services decreased by (1,600 jobs); and other services decreased by (1,500 jobs).   Government overall increased by (800 jobs) over the month. The federal government increased by (2,300 jobs), while state government decreased by (100 jobs), and the local government decreased by (1,400 jobs).

During the last 12 months, employment in the Washington Metropolitan Division increased by 43,800 jobs. The private sector increased by 42,400 jobs, while the public sector increased by 1,400 jobs. The private sector gains over the year were: manufacturing gained (1,600 jobs); mining, logging and construction gained (5,300 jobs); trade, transportation and utilities gained (7,900 jobs); information gained (200 jobs) financial activities gained (1,300); professional and business services gained (14,500 jobs); educational and health services gained (2,400 jobs); leisure and hospitality services gained (10,900 jobs).   Other services showed a decrease of (1,700 jobs); The Federal government shows a decrease of (2,300 jobs); while State government gained (2,300 jobs) and the local government gained (1,400 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 2017 annual benchmark revisions.

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