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District of Columbia Unemployment Improves from a Year ago to 5.5 Percent in February

Friday, March 22, 2019

(Washington, D.C.) The District of Columbia Department of Employment Services reported today that the seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate was 5.5 percent in February; this was an increase of 0.1 percentage point from the reported January rate.

The Districts preliminary February job estimates show an increase of 4,200 jobs, for a total of 790,600 jobs in the District. The private sector increased by 3,900 jobs.  The public sector increased by 300 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 is encouraged by the strides made to reduce the unemployment rate, and through the Mayor’s FY2020 budget we continue to ensure Washingtonians receive a fair shot at economic prosperity,” said DOES Director Dr. Unique Morris-Hughes. “Through continued investment to provide residents with direct access to quality workforce training, education and career services, supports for our most vulnerable families, and by nurturing our small businesses we will maintain a strong, diverse and resilient city.”

The number of employed District residents increased by 300 from 382,000 in January 2019 to 382,300 in February 2019. The civilian labor force for the District was up 700 from 404,000 in January 2019 to 404,700 in February 2019. The labor force participation rate increased 0.1 percentage point from 70.0 percent in January 2019 to 70.1 percent in February 2019.

Employment Overview

  • Educational and Health Services sector increased by 2,300 jobs, after a decrease of 4,000 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 133,000 jobs, jobs increased by 100 or 0.08percent from a year ago.
  • Financial Activities sector decreased by 300 jobs, after a decrease of 200 jobs in the prior month.   With employment at 29,100 jobs, jobs are down by 500 or 1.69 percent from a year ago.
  • Information sector increased by 200 jobs, after a decrease of 300 in the prior month. With employment at 19,900 jobs, jobs are up by 1,200 or 6.42 percent from a year ago.
  • Manufacturing sector remained the same, after not having an over-the-month change in the prior month.   With employment at 1,300 jobs, jobs have remained the same from a year ago.
  • Construction sector remained the same, after not having an over-the-month change in the prior month.  With employment at 15, 200 jobs, jobs are down by 300 or 1.94 percent from a year ago.

 

  • Trade, Transportation and Utilities sector decreased by 400 jobs, after a decrease of 800 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 32,200 jobs, jobs are down by 800 or 2.42 percent from a year ago.
  • Other Services sector increased by 600 jobs, after a decrease of 1,000 jobs in the prior month.  With employment at 75,500 jobs, jobs are down by 400 or 0.53 percent from a year ago.
  • Professional and Business Services sector increased by 400 jobs, after a decrease of 1,200 jobs in the prior month.  With employment at 169,500 jobs, jobs are up by 3,000 or 1.8 percent from a year ago.
  • Leisure and Hospitality sector increased by 1,100 jobs, after a decrease of 2,800 jobs in the prior month.  With employment at 78,300 jobs, jobs are up by 1,400 or 1.82 percent from a year ago.

Labor Force Overview

  • The number of employed District residents increased 300 over the month to 382,300. The civilian labor force increased by 700 to 404,700.
  • One year ago, total employment was 381,900 and the civilian labor force was 405,300.

The number of unemployed was 23,400, and the unemployment rate was 5.8 percent.

NOTES: The February 2019 final and March 2019 preliminary unemployment rate and survey of jobs for the District of Columbia, will be released on Friday, April 19, 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 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 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 2018 annual benchmark revisions.

Industry employment data is not seasonally adjusted.