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District of Columbia Unemployment Improves from a Year Ago to 5.7 Percent in September

Friday, October 19, 2018

(Washington, DC)  – The District of Columbia Department of Employment Services reported today that the seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate was 5.7 percent in September; this was an increase of 0.1 percentage point from the reported August rate.

The District’s preliminary September job estimates show an increase of 9,900 jobs, for a total of 799,800 jobs in the District. The private sector increased by 9,900 jobs while the public sector remained the same as the previous month as 236,800 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 committed to ensuring District residents receive a fair shot at economic prosperity through access to quality occupational training and workforce development services,” said DOES Acting Director Dr. Unique Morris-Hughes. “We are encouraged by the over-the-year progress and continue to provide Washingtonians with the resources and employable tools necessary to succeed.”

The number of employed District residents was down 1,300 from 385,100 in August 2018 to 383,800 in September 2018. The civilian labor force for the District was down 1,300 from 408,100 in August to 406,800 in September. The labor force participation rate was down 0.3 percentage points from 70.8 percent in August to 70.5 percent in September.

Employment Overview

  • Educational and Health Services sector increased by 8,900 jobs, after an increase of 600 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 138,400 jobs, jobs are up by 1,000 or .73 percent from a year ago.
  • Financial Activities sector increased by 100 jobs, after an increase of 300 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 31,800 jobs, jobs are up by 1,600 or 5.30 percent from a year ago.
  • Information sector increased by 200 jobs, after an increase of 200 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 19,200 jobs, jobs are up by 1,100 or 6.08 percent from a year ago.
  • Manufacturing sector remained the same, after not having an over-the- month change. With employment at 1,400 jobs, jobs are up by 100 or 7.69 percent from a year ago.
  • Construction sector decreased by 200 jobs, after no change in the prior month.  With employment at 16, 200 jobs, jobs are up by 600 or 3.85 percent from a year ago.
  • Trade, Transportation and Utilities sector remained the same, after not having an over -the-month change. With employment at 33,600 jobs, jobs are up by 100 or .30 percent from a year ago.
  • Other Services sector decreased by 1,000 jobs, after a decrease of 1,400 jobs the prior month. With employment at 74,900 jobs, jobs are up by 700 or .94 percent from a year ago.
  • Professional and Business Services sector increased by 600 jobs, after a decrease of 1,600 jobs in prior month. With employment at 167,600 jobs, jobs are up by 1,700 or 1.02 percent from a year ago.
  • Leisure and Hospitality sector increased by 1,300 jobs, after having a decreased by 1,900 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 79,900 jobs, jobs are up by 2,600 or 3.36 percent over the year.

Labor Force Overview

  • The number of employed District residents decreased by 1,300 over the month to 383,800. The civilian labor force decreased by 1,300 to 406,800.
  • One year ago, total employment was 377,200 and the civilian labor force was 401,300.The number of unemployed was 24,100, and the unemployment rate was 6.0 percent.

NOTES: The September 2018 final and October 2018 preliminary unemployment rate and survey of jobs data will be released on Friday, November 16, 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.