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District of Columbia Unemployment Rate at 5.8 Percent in March

Friday, April 21, 2017

Washington, DCToday, the Bowser Administration reported that the seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate for March was 5.8 percent– reflecting no significant change from the reported February unemployment rate, while the number of employed District residents increased from 374,400 in February 2017 to 375,000 in March 2017.

Maintaining a strong, diverse, and resilient city requires that every resident has a fair shot, and a pathway to the middle class,” said Mayor Bowser. “We accomplish this by supporting our most vulnerable families and residents; providing job training that leads to real employment opportunities; and by nurturing our small businesses to ensure their growth and success.”

The preliminary March job estimates for Washington, DC show an increase of 600 jobs, for a total of 785,900 jobs in the District. The private sector increased by 200 jobs, while the public sector payrolls increased by 400 jobs. All numbers are drawn from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) through its monthly survey of Washington, DC’s employers.

“This month, Mayor Bowser presented the District of Columbia Fiscal Year 2018 Budget and Financial Plan, which highlights the Mayor’s commitment to our local workforce system,” said Department of Employment Services (DOES) Acting Director Odie Donald II. “Key investments in education and workforce development initiatives will ensure that District residents have the preparation and skills they need to participate in our thriving economy.”

Employment Overview

  • Trade, Transportation, and Utilities sectors increased by 200 jobs, after having an increase of 400 jobs in February. With employment at 32,300, there was no change in jobs from a year ago.
  • Educational and Health Services sector increased by 100 jobs, after an increase of 4,500 jobs in the prior month. With employment sector totals at 139,600, jobs are up by 3,200 or 2.3 percent from a year ago.
  • Information sector decreased by 100 jobs, after an increase of 100 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 16,700, jobs are down by 300 or -1.8 percent from one year ago.
  • Financial Activities sector decreased by 400 jobs, after an increase of 100 jobs the prior month. With employment at 29,000, jobs are down by 700 or -2.4 percent from one year ago.
  • Manufacturing sector had no over-the-month change in jobs, after having no change in jobs in the prior month. With employment sector totals at 1,200, there were no change in jobs from one year ago.
  • Professional and Business Services sector decreased by 800 jobs, after an increase of 900 jobs in February. With employment at 166,400, jobs are up by 2,800 or 1.7 percent from a year ago.
  • Construction sector increased by 100 jobs, after an increase of 100 jobs in February. With employment at 14,500, jobs are down by 1,400 or -8.8 percent over the year.
  • Other Services sector decreased by 200 jobs, after having an increase of 200 jobs the prior month. With employment at 70,400, jobs are down by 1,300 or -1.8 percent from a year ago.
  • Leisure and Hospitality sector increased by 1,300 jobs, after having an increase of 1,200 jobs in February. With employment at 77,400, jobs are up by 3,700 or 5.0 percent over the year.

Labor Force Overview

  • The number of employed District residents increased by 600 over the month to 375,000. The civilian labor force increased by 1,100 to 398,100.
  • One year ago, total employment was 368,100 and the civilian labor force was 392,300.  The number of unemployed was 24,200, and the unemployment rate was 6.2 percent.

Additionally, based on more complete reporting from employers, previously released February estimates were revised upward to show an over-the-month (January 17 - February 17) total non-farm employment increase of 5,700 jobs.

The March 2017 final and April 2017 preliminary unemployment rate and survey of jobs data will be released on Friday, May 19, 2017. 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 2016 annual benchmark revisions.

Industry employment data is not seasonally adjusted.