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DC Unemployment Holds Steady at 5.2 Percent in February

Friday, March 27, 2020

This data in this report predates any impact from coronavirus (COVID-19).

(Washington, DC) – The District of Columbia Department of Employment Services (DOES) reported today that the seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate was 5.2 percent in February. This was unchanged from the reported January rate.

The District’s preliminary February job estimates show an increase of 5,200 jobs, for a total of 799,500 jobs in the District. The private sector increased by 5,400 jobs. The public sector decreased by 200 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 increased by 1,500 from 391,500 in January 2020 to 393,000 in February 2020. The civilian labor force for the District was up 1,300 from 413,000 in January 2020 to 414,300 in February 2020. The labor force participation rate increased by 0.2 percentage points from 71.3 percent in January 2020 to 71.5 percent in February 2020.

Employment Overview

  • Mining, Logging and Construction sector increased by 200 jobs, after a decrease of 100 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 14,600 jobs, jobs decreased by 100 or .68 percent from a year ago.
  • Trade Transportation and Utilities sector increased by 200 jobs, after a decrease of 1,100 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 33,700 jobs, jobs increased by 1,100 or 3.37 percent from a year ago.
  • Information sector remained the same as the prior month, after an increase of 400 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 20,800 jobs, jobs are up by 1,000 or 5.05 percent from a year ago.
  • Financial Activities sector increased by 400 jobs, after a decrease of 600 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 29,800 jobs, jobs are up by 100 jobs or .34 percent from a year ago.
  • Professional and Business Services sector increased by 400 jobs, after a decrease of 1,700 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 172,700 jobs, jobs are up by 4,200 jobs or 2.49 percent from a year ago.
  • Educational and Health Services sector increased by 3,300 jobs, after a decrease of 2,800 in the prior month. With employment at 131,200 jobs, jobs decreased by 2,500 or 1.87 percent from a year ago.
  • Other Services sector decreased by 300 jobs, after a decrease of 1,000 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 77,800 jobs, jobs are up by 1,200 or 1.57 percent from a year ago.
  • Manufacturing sector remains the same, after a decrease of 100 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 1,300 jobs, jobs remain the same from a year ago.
  • Leisure and Hospitality sector increased by 1,200 jobs, after a decrease of 2,500 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 79,100 jobs, jobs decreased by 400 or .50 percent from a year ago.

Labor Force Overview

  • The number of employed District residents increased by 1,500 over the month to 393,000. The civilian labor force increased by 1,300 to 414,300.
  • One year ago, total employment was 384,000 and the civilian labor force was 407,500.

           The number of unemployed was 23,500, and the unemployment rate was 5.8 percent.

NOTES: The February 2020 final and March 2020 preliminary unemployment rate, will be released on Friday, April 17, 2020. Historical jobs and labor force estimates for the District of Columbia and detailed labor market information is available here.

Technical Notes: Estimates of industry employment and unemployment levels are derived 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. These estimates are benchmarked (revised) annually based on actual counts from the District’s Unemployment Compensation Law administrative records and other data.

Data reflects 2019 annual benchmark revisions.


Industry employment data is not seasonally adjusted.