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District of Columbia Unemployment Rate at 6.5 Percent in August

Friday, September 17, 2021

Washington, DC – The District of Columbia’s Department of Employment Services (DOES) reported today that the seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate was 6.5 percent in August 2021; this was a decrease of 0.2 percentage points from the revised July 2021 rate of 6.7 percent.

“DC continues to recover from the pandemic, and we are proud to do our part in that effort,” said DOES Director Dr. Unique Morris-Hughes. “As we see job numbers continuing to improve across the District, we encourage employers and those seeking work to visit does.dc.gov to post jobs, find a job, or learn about training and workforce development opportunities. We stand ready to support you.”

The District’s preliminary August job estimates show a decrease of 14,200 jobs, for a total of 748,200 jobs in the District. The private sector decreased by 1,100 jobs.  The public sector decreased by 13,100 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.

The number of employed District residents increased by 2,300, from 379,800 in July 2021 to 382,100 in August 2021. The civilian labor force for the District increased by 1,600 from 407,200 in July 2021 to 408,800 in August 2021. The labor force participation rate increased by 0.3 percentage point from 69.6 percent in July 2021 to 69.9 percent in August 2021.

Employment Overview

  • Manufacturing sector remained the same, after remaining the same the prior month.  With employment at 1,000 jobs, jobs remained the same from a year ago.
  • Mining, Logging and Construction remained the same, after increasing by 300 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 16,200 jobs, jobs increased by 600 or 3.85 percent from a year ago.
  • Trade, Transportation, and Utilities sector decreased by 200 jobs, after decreasing by 200 jobs in the prior month.  With employment at 28,800 jobs, jobs increased by 900 or 3.23 percent from a year ago.
  • Information sector decreased by 300 jobs, after an increase of 100 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 18,700 jobs, jobs decreased by 900 or 4.59 percent from a year ago.
  • Financial Activities sector increased by 300 jobs after a decrease of 300 jobs in the prior month.   With employment at 28,200 jobs, jobs decreased by 800 jobs or 2.76 percent from a year ago.
  • Professional and Business Services sector decreased by 1,600 jobs, after an increase of 800 jobs in the prior month.  With employment at 167,500 jobs, jobs increased by 2,900 or 1.76 percent from a year ago.
  • Educational and Health Services sector decreased by 600 jobs, after an increase of 2,500 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 125,000 jobs, jobs increased by 5,500 or 4.6 percent from a year ago.
  • Leisure and Hospitality sector increased by 1,700 jobs, after an increase of 1,900 jobs in the prior month.  With employment at 53,500 jobs, jobs increased by 15,400 or 40.42 percent from a year ago.
  • Other Services sector decreased by 400 jobs, after an increase of 900 jobs in the prior month.  With employment at 71,200 jobs, jobs decreased by 1,200 or 1.66 percent from a year ago.

Labor Force Overview

  • The number of employed District residents increased by 2,300 over the month to 382,100. The civilian labor force increased by 1,600 to 408,800.
  • One year ago, total employment was 369,900 and the civilian labor force was 405,500.

The number of unemployed was 35,600, and the unemployment rate was 8.8 percent.

NOTES: The August 2021 final and September 2021 preliminary unemployment rates, will be released on Friday October 22, 2021. Historica1 jobs and labor force estimates for the District of Columbia and detailed labor market information is available at HERE.

Technical Notes: Estimates of industry employment and unemployment levels are determined 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 2020 annual benchmark revisions.

Industry employment data is not seasonally adjusted.