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DC Unemployment at 5.4 Percent in September

Friday, October 18, 2019

(Washington, DC) The District of Columbia Department of Employment Services reported today that the seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate was 5.4 percent in September; this was a decline of 0.1 percentage point from the reported August rate.

The Districts preliminary September job estimates show an increase of 800 jobs, for a total of 799,800 jobs in the District. The private sector decreased by 300 jobs.  The public sector increased by 1,100 jobs. The numbers are drawn from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) through its monthly survey of the District of Columbia’s employers.

“The Bowser Administration remains steadfast in our commitment to connecting District residents to employment opportunities and high-quality workforce training and career services,” said DOES Director Dr. Unique Morris-Hughes. “While the District of Columbia has experienced strong economic growth, the work continues to ensure that Washingtonians have access to the resources and tools needed to achieve economic prosperity.”

The number of employed District residents increased by 200 from 389,500 in August 2019 to 389,700 in September 2019. The civilian labor force for the District was down 100 from 412,000 in August 2019 to 411,900 in September 2019. The labor force participation rate decreased 0.1 percentage point from 71.1 percent in August 2019 to 71.0 percent in September 2019.

Employment Overview

  • Mining, Logging and Construction sector decreased by 200 jobs, after remaining the same as the previous month.   With employment at 15,900 jobs, jobs increased by 300 or 1.92 percent from a year ago.
  • Trade Transportation and Utilities sector decreased by 600 jobs, after a decrease of 600 jobs in the prior month.  With employment at 32,500 jobs, jobs decreased by 600 or 1.8 percent from a year ago.
  • Information sector increased by 100 jobs, after a decrease of 100 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 20,300 jobs, jobs are up by 900 or 4.64 percent from a year ago.
  • Financial Activities sector decreased by 400 jobs, after remaining the same from the prior month.  With employment at 29,800 jobs, jobs have remained the same as the previous year.
  • Professional and Business Services sector decreased by 200 jobs, after a decrease of 400 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 170,100 jobs, jobs are up by 2,700 or 1.61 percent from a year ago.
  • Educational and Health Services sector increased by 2,700 jobs, after an increase of 1,600 in the prior month. With employment at 132,600 jobs, jobs are up by 1,300 or .99 percent from a year ago.
  • Other Services sector decreased by 1,700 jobs after a decrease of 300 jobs in the prior month.  With employment at 77,400 jobs, jobs are up by 1,400 or 1.84 percent from a year ago.
  • Manufacturing sector remained the same as the previous month.  With employment at 1,400 jobs, jobs are up by 100 or 7.69 percent from a year ago.
  • Leisure and Hospitality sector remained the same, after a decrease of 300 jobs in the prior month.  With employment at 82,700 jobs, jobs are up by 2,400 or 2.99 percent from a year ago.

Labor Force Overview

  • The number of employed District residents increased by 200 over the month to 389,700. The civilian labor force decreased by 100 to 411,900.
  • One year ago, total employment was 381,700 and the civilian labor force was 403,400.
  • The number of unemployed was 21,700, and the unemployment rate was 5.4 percent.

NOTES: The September 2019 final and October 2019 preliminary unemployment rate and survey of jobs for the District of Columbia, will be released on Friday, November 15, 2019. Historical jobs and labor force estimates for the District of Columbia and detailed labor market information is available at: http://does.dc.gov/page/labor-statistics

Technical Notes: Estimates of industry employment and unemployment levels arrive through the use of two different monthly surveys.

Industry employment data is derived from the Current Employment Statistics (CES) survey, a monthly survey of business establishments conducted by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of the US Department of Labor, which provides estimates of employment, hours, and earnings data broken down by industry for the nation as a whole, all states, and most major metropolitan areas (often referred to as the “establishment” survey).

Resident employment and unemployment data are mainly derived from the Districts portion of the national Current Population Survey (CPS), a household survey conducted each month by the US Census Bureau under contract with BLS, which provides input to the Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) program (often referred to as the “household” survey).

Both industry and household estimates are revised each month based on additional information from updated survey reports compiled by BLS. In addition, these estimates are benchmarked (revised) annually based on actual counts from the Districts Unemployment Compensation Law administrative records and other data.

Data reflects the 2018 annual benchmark revisions.

Industry employment data is not seasonally adjusted.