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District of Columbia Unemployment Improves from One Year Ago to 5.6 Percent in August

Friday, September 21, 2018

(Washington, DC) – The District of Columbia Department of Employment Services (DOES) reported today that the seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate was 5.6 percent in August; this was unchanged from the reported July rate.

The District’s preliminary August job estimates show a decrease of 13,700 jobs, for a total of 790,000 jobs in the District. The private sector decreased by 4,100 jobs while the public sector payrolls decreased by 9,600 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.

“The Bowser Administration remains focused on connecting District residents to high-quality workforce programs and services, giving them a fair shot at economic prosperity,” said DOES Acting Director Dr. Unique Morris-Hughes. “We are committed to ensuring Washingtonians have access to the resources and tools that will help them secure meaningful, sustainable work.

The number of employed District residents was down 1,000 from 386,100 in July 2018 to 385,100 in August 2018. The civilian labor force for the District was down 900 from 409,000 in July to 408,100 in August. The labor force participation rate was down 0.2 percentage points from 71.0 percent in July to 70.8 percent in August.

Employment Overview

  • Educational and Health Services sector increased by 600 jobs, after a decrease of 1,700 jobs in the prior month. With employment sector totals at 128,500 jobs, jobs are up by 3,400 or 2.72 percent from a year ago.
  • Financial Activities sector increased by 300 jobs, after an increase of 200 jobs in the prior month. With employment sector totals at 31,700 jobs, jobs are up by 1,300 or 4.28 percent from a year ago.
  • Information sector increased by 200 jobs, there were no changes in the prior month. With employment at 19,000, jobs are up by 900 or 4.97 percent from one year ago.
  • Manufacturing sector did not have an over-the- month change. With employment sector totals at 1,400, jobs are up by 100 or 7.69 percent from a year ago.
  • Construction sector did not have an over-the- month change. With employment sector totals at 16, 400 jobs are up by 700 or 4.46 percent from a year ago.
  • Trade, Transportation and Utilities sector shows a decrease of 300 jobs, after a decrease of 300 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 33,700 jobs are up by 400 or 1.20 percent compared from a year ago.
  • Other Services sector decreased by 1,400 jobs, after an increase of 300 jobs the prior month. With employment at 75,800, jobs are up by 1,100 or 1.47 percent from a year ago.
  • Professional and Business Services sector decreased by 1,600 jobs, after an increase of 1,300 jobs in prior month. With employment at 167,500, jobs are up by 600 or .36 percent from a year ago.
  • Leisure and Hospitality sector decreased by 1,900 jobs, after having a increased by 1,400 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 79,200, jobs are up by 2,500 or 3.26 percent over the year.

Labor Force Overview

The number of employed District residents decreased by 1,000 over the month to 385,100. The civilian labor force decreased by 900 to 408,100.

One year ago, total employment was 376,800 and the civilian labor force was 401,300. The number of unemployed was 24,500, and the unemployment rate was 6.1 percent.

NOTES: The August 2018 final and September 2018 preliminary unemployment rate and survey of jobs data will be released on Friday, October 19, 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.