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DC Unemployment Holds Steady at 5.4 Percent in October

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

(Washington, DC) The District of Columbia Department of Employment Services (DOES) reported today that the seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate was 5.4 percent in October; there was no change in the unemployment rate from the reported September rate.

The Districts preliminary October job estimates show an increase of 5,900 jobs, for a total of 805,300 jobs in the District. The private sector increased by 6,700 jobs.  The public sector 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 Bowser Administration remains encouraged as continuous efforts are made to ensure job seekers in the District are connected to employment opportunities and high-quality workforce training services,” said DOES Director Dr. Unique Morris-Hughes. “Bridging the gap between education and workforce development is a key priority as we prepare residents for high demand job opportunities.”

The number of employed District residents decreased by 300 from 389,700 in September 2019 to 389,400 in October 2019. The civilian labor force for the District was down 500 from 411,900 in September 2019 to 411,400 in October 2019. The labor force participation rate decreased 0.1 percentage point from 71.0 percent in September 2019 to 70.9 percent in October 2019.

Employment Overview

  • Mining, Logging and Construction sector remains 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 200 jobs, after a decrease of 600 jobs in the prior month.  With employment at 32,700 jobs, jobs decreased by 900 or 2.68 percent from a year ago.
  • Information sector increased by 600 jobs, after an increase of 100 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 20,700 jobs, jobs are up by 1,000 or 5.08 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, 300 jobs, jobs are up by 600 jobs or 2.02 percent from a year ago.
  • Professional and Business Services sector increased by 3,500 jobs, after a decrease of 200 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 173,200 jobs, jobs are up by 4,200 or 2.49 percent from a year ago.
  • Educational and Health Services sector increased by 2,700 jobs, after an increase of 2,700 in the prior month. With employment at 135,000 jobs, jobs are up by 1,000 or 0.75 percent from a year ago.
  • Other Services sector increased by 400 jobs after a decrease of 1,700 jobs in the prior month.  With employment at 77,700 jobs, jobs are up by 1,200 or 1.57 percent from a year ago.
  • Manufacturing sector decreased by 100 jobs after the jobs remained the same in the prior month.  With employment at 1,300 jobs, jobs remain the same as a year ago.
  • Leisure and Hospitality sector decreased by 600 jobs, jobs remained the same in the prior month.  With employment at 82,200 jobs, jobs are up by 1,300 or 1.61 percent from a year ago.

Labor Force Overview

  • The number of employed District residents decreased by 300 over the month to 389,400. The civilian labor force decreased by 500 to 411,400.
  • One year ago, total employment was 381,700 and the civilian labor force was 403,300. The number of unemployed was 21,500, and the unemployment rate was 5.3 percent.

NOTES: The October2019 final and November 2019 preliminary unemployment rate and survey of jobs for the District of Columbia, will be released on Friday, December 20, 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.