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DC Unemployment at 5.5 Percent in August

Friday, September 20, 2019

(Washington, DC) The District of Columbia Department of Employment Services (DOES) reported today that the seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate was 5.5 percent in August; this was a decline of 0.1 percentage point from the reported July rate.

The Districts preliminary July job estimates show a decrease of 12,800 jobs, for a total of 796,900 jobs in the District. The private sector decreased by 2,200 jobs. The public sector decreased by 10,600 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 encouraged as continuous efforts are made to prepare and connect Washingtonians to employment opportunities, giving them a fair shot at economic stability,” said DOES Director Unique Morris-Hughes. As we work to bridge the gap between education and workforce development, we are ensuring residents across the District have access to high-quality workforce training and career services.”

The number of employed District residents increased by 300 from 389,100 in July 2019 to 389,400 in August 2019. The civilian labor force for the District was down 100 from 412,100 in July 2019 to 412,000 in August 2019. The labor force participation rate decreased 0.1 percentage point from 71.2 percent in July 2019 to 71.1 percent in August 2019.

Employment Overview

  • Mining, Logging and Construction sector remained the same as the previous month, after an increase of 200 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 16,100 jobs, jobs increased by 400 or 2.55 percent from a year ago.
  • Trade Transportation and Utilities sector decreased by 800 jobs, after an increase of 400 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 32,900 jobs, jobs remained the same as the previous year.
  • Information sector decreased by 100 jobs, after an increase of 200 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 20,200 jobs, jobs are up by 800 or 4.12 percent from a year ago.
  • Financial Activities sector decreased by 100 jobs, after an increase of 200 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 30,100 jobs, jobs have remained the same as the previous year.
  • Professional and Business Services sector remained the same as the previous month, after an increase of 300 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 170,700 jobs, jobs are up by 2,800 or 1.67 percent from a year ago.
  • Educational and Health Services sector decreased by 200 jobs, after an increase of 400 in the prior month. With employment at 128,100 jobs, jobs are up by 1,500 or 1.18 percent from a year ago.
  • Leisure and Hospitality sector decreased by 200 jobs, after a decrease of 300 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 82,800 jobs, jobs are up by 3,500 or 4.41 percent from a year ago.
  • Other Services sector decreased by 700 jobs, after an increase of 900 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 78,700 jobs, jobs are up by 2,200 or 2.88 percent from a year ago.
  • Manufacturing sector decreased by 100 jobs, while remaining the same the previous month. With employment at 1,300 jobs, jobs are down by 100 or 7.14 percent from a year ago.

Labor Force Overview

  • The number of employed District residents increased by 300 over the month to 389,400. The civilian labor force decreased by 100 to 412,000.
  • One year ago, total employment was 381,800 and the civilian labor force was 403,800.

The number of unemployed was 22,000, and the unemployment rate was 5.4 percent.

NOTES: The August 2019 final and September 2019 preliminary unemployment rate and survey of jobs for the District of Columbia, will be released on Friday, October 18, 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 are arrived 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 2018 annual benchmark revisions.
Industry employment data is not seasonally adjusted.