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DC Unemployment Hits Pre-Recession Low, Improves to 5.8 Percent in January

Monday, March 12, 2018

(Washington, DC) – The District of Columbia Department of Employment Services reported today that the seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate was 5.8 percent in January 2018 – this was down 0.1 percentage point from the revised December 2017 rate. The 5.8 percent January rate is the lowest reported since February 2008, before the nation’s recession.

“The District continues to experience strong economic growth, fulfilling a key commitment from my Administration to create economic opportunity and pathways into the middle class for every Washingtonian, said Mayor Muriel Bowser. “I am committed to ensuring this progress continues across the entire District, especially in our most disadvantaged communities.”

The District’s preliminary January 2018 job estimates show a decrease of 10,200 jobs compared to the revised December 2017 estimates, for a total of 786,900 jobs in the District. The private sector decreased by 9,400 jobs while the public sector payrolls decreased by 800 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 number of employed District residents was up 900 from 377,700 in December 2017 to 378,600 in January 2018.

Employment Overview

  • Trade, Transportation, and Utilities sectors decreased by 700 jobs, after having an increase of 800 jobs in December. With employment at 33,300, jobs are up by 600 or 1.8 percent from a year ago.
  • Educational and Health Services sector decreased by 2,200 jobs, after a decrease of 2,700 jobs in the prior month. With employment sector totals at 136,800, jobs are up by 2,200 or 1.6 percent from one year ago.
  • Information sector increased by 100 jobs, after an increase of 1,800 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 18,600, jobs are up by 1,500 or 8.8 percent from one year ago.
  • Financial Activities sector increased by 400 jobs, after an increase of 600 jobs the prior month. With employment at 30,600, jobs are up by 800 or 2.7 percent from one year ago.
  • Manufacturing sector had no over-the-month change, after an increase of 100 jobs in the prior month. With employment sector totals at 1,300, jobs are up by 100 or 8.3 percent from one year ago.
  • Professional and Business Services sector decreased by 2,200 jobs, after a decrease of 3,200 jobs in December. With employment at 165,400, jobs are up by 700 or 0.4 percent from a year ago.
  • Construction sector decreased by 200 jobs, after an increase of 900 jobs in December. With employment at 15,300, jobs are up by 800 or 5.5 percent over the year.
  • Other Services sector decreased by 1,500 jobs, after having an increase of 3,100 jobs the prior month. With employment at 74,300, jobs are up by 1,300 or 1.8 percent from a year ago.
  • Leisure and Hospitality sector decreased by 3,100 jobs, after having a decrease of 3,600 jobs in December. With employment at 73,500, jobs are up by 2,200 or 3.1 percent over the year.

Labor Force Overview

  • The number of employed District residents increased by 900 over the month to 378,600. The civilian labor force was increased by 400 to 401,800.
  • One year ago, total employment was 374,500 and the civilian labor force was 398,400. The number of unemployed was 23,900, and the unemployment rate was 6.0 percent.

NOTES: The January 2018 final and February 2018 preliminary unemployment rate and survey of jobs data will be released on Friday, March 23, 2018. 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 District’s 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 District’s Unemployment Compensation Law administrative records and other data.

Data reflects 2017 annual benchmark revisions.

Industry employment data is not seasonally adjusted.