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District of Columbia Unemployment Rate at 8.1 Percent in February

Friday, March 26, 2021

(Washington, DC) – The District of Columbia’s Department of Employment Services (DOES) reported today that the seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate was 8.1 percent in February 2021; this was a decrease of 0.3 percentage points from the revised January 2021 rate.

“While measured, we are encouraged by the addition of jobs to the District economy,” said DOES Director Dr. Unique Morris-Hughes. “Recovery is in progress, and our focus remains on providing District residents and employers with the training, resources, access and support needed to reach economic stability.”  The District’s preliminary February job estimates show an increase of 3,400 jobs, for a total of 729,600 jobs in the District. The private sector increased by 4,900 jobs.  The public sector decreased by 1,500 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 400 from 374,800 in January 2021 to 375,200 in February 2021. The civilian labor force for the District decreased by 700 from 409,200 in January 2021 to 408,500 in February 2021. The labor force participation rate declined by 0.1 percentage point from 70.0 percent in January 2021 to 69.9 percent in February 2021.

Employment Overview

  • Manufacturing sector remained the same, after remaining the same in the prior month.  With employment at 1,000 jobs, jobs decreased by 200 or 16.67 percent from a year ago.
  • Mining, Logging and Construction sector remained the same, after a decrease of 200 jobs in the prior month.  With employment at 15,300 jobs, jobs increased by 100 or .66 percent from a year ago.
  • Trade Transportation and Utilities sector increased by 400 jobs, after a decrease of 900 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 29,200 jobs, jobs decreased by 3,500 or 10.7 percent from a year ago.
  •  Information sector remained the same after a decrease of 100 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 19,100 jobs, jobs decreased by 1,600 or 7.73 percent from a year ago.
  •  Financial Activities sector increased by 100 jobs after an increase of 100 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 28,000 jobs, jobs decreased by 1,700 jobs or 5.72 percent from a year ago.
  • Professional and Business Services sector increased by 400 jobs, after decrease of 1,100 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 164,200 jobs, jobs decreased by 10,000 or 5.74 percent from a year ago.
  • Educational and Health Services sector increased by 2,400 jobs, after a decrease of 1,000 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 125,800 jobs, jobs decreased by 7,700 or 5.77 percent from a year ago.
  • Leisure and Hospitality sector increased by 2,300 jobs, after a decrease of 3,000 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 38,100 jobs, jobs decreased by 41,600 or 52.2 percent from a year ago.
  • Other Services sector decreased by 700 jobs, after a decrease of 1,500 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 69,500 jobs, jobs decreased by 8,200 o1 10.55 percent from a year ago.

Labor Force Overview

  • The number of employed District residents increased by 400 over the month to 375,200. The civilian labor force decreased by 700 to 408,500.
  • One year ago, total employment was 399,400 and the civilian labor force was 420,400.

The number of unemployed was 21,000, and the unemployment rate was 5.0 percent.

NOTES: The February 2021 final and March 2021 preliminary unemployment rates will be released on Monday April 19, 2021. Historica1 jobs and labor force estimates for the District of Columbia and detailed labor market information is available here.

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 2020 annual benchmark revisions.

Industry employment data is not seasonally adjusted.