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 Washington Metro’s Unemployment at 3.4 Percent in March

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

The data in this report does not reflect the full impact of coronavirus (COVID-19).

(Washington, DC) - The District of Columbia Department of Employment Services (DOES) reported today that the preliminary March job estimates show a decrease of 4,000 jobs for a total of 2,759,700 jobs in the Washington Metropolitan Division. The private sector decreased by 5,600 jobs, while the public sector payrolls increased by 1,600 jobs. The Washington Metropolitan Division's not seasonally adjusted March 2020 unemployment rate was 3.4 percent, which is up 0.4 percentage points from the February 2020 rate of 3.0 percent. The Washington Metropolitan Division’s unemployment rate was 3.3 percent in March 2019, which was 0.1 percentage point lower than the current unemployment rate of 3.4 percent.

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

The total civilian labor force in the Washington Metropolitan Division for March 2020 was 2,803,700, of which 2,708,700 were employed and 95,000 were unemployed. The unemployment rate was 3.4 percent. The total civilian labor force in the Suburban Ring of the Communities surrounding the District of Columbia was 3,083,100, of which 2,993,200 were employed and 89,900 were unemployed. The unemployment rate for this area was 2.9 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 3,504,900, of which 3,390,200 were employed and 114,700 were unemployed. The unemployment rate for this area was 3.3 percent. For the month, the unemployment rate for the Washington Metropolitan Division increased by 0.4 percentage points, unemployment rate for the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area increased by 0.3 percentage points and the unemployment rate for the Suburban Ring increased by 0.2 percentage points 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 53,400, while the number of employed increased by 48,600, and the number of unemployed increased by 4,700. The civilian labor force for the Suburban Ring increased over the year by 45,200, while the number of employed increased by 44,400, and the number of unemployed increased by 900. Meanwhile, the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area’s civilian labor force increased by 57,600, while the number of employed increased by 54,900 and the number of unemployed increased by 2,700. For the year, the unemployment rates for the Washington Metropolitan Division and the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area increased by 0.1 percentage point while the unemployment rate for the Suburban Ring was unchanged from a year ago.

Metropolitan Division’s Job Growth

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

During the last 12 months, employment in the Washington Metropolitan Division increased by 34,900 jobs. The private sector increased by 27,500 jobs, while the public sector increased by 7,400 jobs. The private sector gains over the year were: manufacturing gained (1,000 jobs); mining, logging and construction gained (2,500 jobs); trade, transportation and utilities gained (2,900 jobs); information gained (3,400 jobs); financial activities gained (2,600 jobs); professional and business services gained (13,700 jobs); leisure and hospitality services gained (900 jobs) and other services gained (3,100 jobs).  The private sector loss was registered in: educational and health services, which lost 2,600 jobs. The federal government shows an increase of 2,200 jobs, while state government gained 2,300 jobs and the local government gained 2,900 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 2019 annual benchmark revisions.
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