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DC Unemployment Holds Steady at 5.3 Percent in December

Friday, January 24, 2020

(Washington, DC) – The District of Columbia Department of Employment Services reported today that the seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate was 5.3 percent in December; this was unchanged from the reported November rate.

The District’s preliminary December job estimates show a decrease of 2,600 jobs, for a total of 805,700 jobs in the District. The private sector decreased by 3,200 jobs.  The public sector increased by 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.

“Creating fair shot opportunities that work towards positioning residents for long-term economic prosperity, remains a top priority for the Bowser Administration,” said DOES Director Dr. Unique Morris-Hughes. “Through our vision of achieving excellence in service delivery and ensuring equity and access for our most vulnerable residents, we are committed to ensuring the continued growth our local economy.” 

The number of employed District residents increased by 1,100 from 390,300 in November 2019 to 391,400 in December 2019. The civilian labor force for the District was up 1,200 from 412,200 in November 2019 to 413,400 in December 2019. The labor force participation rate increased 0.1 percentage point from 71.0 percent in November 2019 to 71.1 percent in December 2019.

Employment Overview

  • Mining, Logging and Construction sector decreased by 300 jobs, after a decrease of 100 jobs in the prior month.  With employment at 15,500 jobs, jobs increased by 200 or 1.31 percent from a year ago.
  • Trade Transportation and Utilities sector increased by 100 jobs, after an increase of 800 jobs from the prior month.  With employment at 33,800 jobs, jobs increased by 200 or 0.6 percent from a year ago.
  • Information sector decreased by 300 jobs, after an increase of 100 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 20,400 jobs, jobs are up by 400 or 2.0 percent from a year ago.
  • Financial Activities sector increased by 400 jobs, after a decrease of 400 jobs in the prior month.  With employment at 30, 200 jobs, jobs are up by 700 jobs or 2.37 percent from a year ago.
  • Professional and Business Services sector decreased by 200 jobs, after an increase of 200 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 172,900 jobs, jobs are up by 3,800 2.25 percent from a year ago.
  • Educational and Health Services sector decreased by 2,200 jobs, after an increase of 1,300 in the prior month. With employment at 134,100 jobs, jobs are up by 700 or 0.52 percent from a year ago.
  • Other Services sector increased by 400 jobs after an increase of 300 jobs in the prior month.  With employment at 78,300 jobs, jobs are up by 2,200 or 2.89percent from a year ago.
  • Leisure and Hospitality sector decreased by 1,100 jobs after a decrease of 300 jobs in the prior month.  With employment at 81,000 jobs, jobs are up by 1,500 or 1.89 from a year ago.
  • Manufacturing sector remained the same after an increase of 100 in the prior month.  With employment at 1,400 jobs, jobs are up by 100 or 7.69 percent from a year ago.


Labor Force Overview

  • The number of employed District residents increased by 1,100 over the month to 391,400. The civilian labor force increased by 1,200 to 413,400.
  • One year ago, total employment was 381,900 and the civilian labor force was 403,500.

           The number of unemployed was 21,600, and the unemployment rate was 5.4 percent.

NOTES: The December 2019 final and January 2020 preliminary unemployment rate and survey of jobs data along with the 2019 Annual Benchmark data for the District of Columbia, will be released on Monday, March 16, 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 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 2018 annual benchmark revisions.
Industry employment data is not seasonallyadjusted.