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DC Unemployment Stands at 11.1 Percent in April

Friday, May 22, 2020

(Washington, DC) – The District of Columbia Department of Employment Services (DOES) reported today that the seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate was 11.1 percent in April; this was an increase of 5.1 percent from the reported March rate.

The District’s preliminary April job estimates show a decrease of 65,400 jobs, for a total of 734,400 jobs in the District. The private sector decreased by 65,500 jobs. The public sector increased by 100 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.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact DC’s labor force, the Bowser Administration is working diligently to provide financial relief and support to residents and employers across the city,” said DOES Director Dr. Unique Morris-Hughes. “The mayor’s ongoing investment in critical workforce services and the leveraging of public and private partnerships are key, as the District prepares for the reopening of our economy.”

The number of employed District residents decreased by 36,800 from 395,100 in March 2020 to 358,300 in April 2020. The civilian labor force for the District was down 17,400 from 420,500 in March 2020 to 403,100 in April 2020. The labor force participation rate decreased by 3.1 percent from 72.6 percent in March 2020 to 69.5 percent in April 2020.

Employment Overview

  • Manufacturing sector decreased by 100 jobs, after a decrease of 100 jobs in the prior month.  With employment at 1,200 jobs, jobs decreased by 200 or 14.29 percent from a year ago.
  • Mining, Logging and Construction sector decreased by 1,100 jobs, after a decrease of 100 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 13,400 jobs, jobs decreased by 1,400 or 9.46 percent from a year ago.
  • Trade Transportation and Utilities sector decreased by 6,200 jobs, after an increase of 400 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 28,200 jobs, jobs decreased by 4,500 or 13.76 percent from a year ago.
  • Information sector decreased by 600 jobs, after increasing by 100 in the prior month. With employment at 20,400 jobs, jobs are up by 800 or 4.08 percent from a year ago.
  • Financial Activities sector decreased by 500, after remaining the same as the prior month.  With employment at 29,200 jobs, jobs decreased by 500 jobs or 1.68 percent from a year ago.
  • Professional and Business Services sector decreased by 4,600 jobs, after an increase of 900 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 168,600 jobs, jobs decreased by 700 or .41 percent from a year ago.
  • Educational and Health Services sector decreased by 8,900 jobs, after a decrease of 600 in the prior month. With employment at 121,900 jobs, jobs decreased by 11,100 or 8.35 percent from a year ago.
  • Leisure and Hospitality sector decreased by 42,800 jobs, after a decrease of 1,500 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 35,200 jobs, jobs decreased by 48,400 or 57.89 percent from a year ago.
  • Other Services sector decreased by 700 jobs, after an increase of 500 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 77,600 jobs, jobs are up by 600 or .78 percent from a year ago.

Labor Force Overview

  • The number of employed District residents decreased by 36,800 over the month to 358,300. The civilian labor force decreased by 17,400 to 403,100.
  • One year ago, total employment was 385,700 and the civilian labor force was 408,700.

The number of unemployed was 23,000, and the unemployment rate was 5.6 percent.

NOTES: The April 2020 final and May 2020 preliminary unemployment rate, will be released on Friday, June 19, 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 using 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 2019 annual benchmark revisions.
Industry employment data is not seasonally adjusted.