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District of Columbia Unemployment Rate at 8.4 Percent in January

Monday, March 15, 2021

(Washington, DC) – The District of Columbia’s Department of Employment Services reported today that the seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate was 8.4 percent in January 2021; this was a decrease of 0.4 percentage points from the revised December rate.

The District’s preliminary December job estimates show a decrease of 3,200 jobs, for a total of 752,400 jobs in the District. The private sector decreased by 3,800 jobs.  The public sector increased by 600 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.

“While we are moving toward economic recovery, the District’s workforce continues to be impacted by the global pandemic,” said DOES Director Dr. Unique Morris-Hughes. “Our investment in the District’s human capital through quality training, workforce development and providing financial relief to those in need remains our priority.” The number of employed District residents increased by 1,500 from 373,300 in December 2020 to 374,800 in January 2021. The civilian labor force for the District decreased by 100 from 409,300 in December 2020 to 409,200 in January 2021. The labor force participation rate was unchanged from 70.0 percent in December 2020 to 70.0 percent in January 2021.

Employment Overview

  • Manufacturing sector remained the same, after remaining the same the prior month.  With employment at 1,200 jobs, jobs decreased by 200 or 14.29 percent from a year ago.
  • Mining, Logging and Construction sector decreased by 400 jobs, after a decrease of 100 jobs in the prior month.  With employment at 14,800 jobs, jobs increased by 300 or 2.07 percent from a year ago.
  • rade Transportation and Utilities sector increased by 100 jobs, after an increase of 700 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 33,500 jobs, jobs decreased by 1,100 or 3.18 percent from a year ago.
  • Information sector decreased by 200 jobs, after a decrease of 100 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 18,400 jobs, jobs decreased by 2,000 or 9.8 percent from a year ago.
  • Financial Activities sector remained the same, after a decrease of 100 jobs in the prior month.   With employment at 27,800 jobs, jobs decreased by 2,200 jobs or 7.33 percent from a year ago.
  • Professional and Business Services sector increased by 100 jobs, after remaining the same the prior month. With employment at 165,100 jobs, jobs decreased by 8,900 or 5.11 percent from a year ago.
  • Educational and Health Services sector decreased by 400 jobs, after an increase of 900 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 121,100 jobs, jobs decreased by 9,600 or 7.35 percent from a year ago.
  • Leisure and Hospitality sector decreased by 2, 500 jobs, after an increase of 500 jobs in the prior month.  With employment at 51,000 jobs, jobs decreased by 29,400 or 36.57 percent from a year ago.
  • Other Services sector decreased by 500 jobs, after an increase of 100 jobs in the prior month.  With employment at 75,300 jobs, jobs decreased by 3,800 or 4.8 percent from a year ago.

Labor Force Overview

  • The number of employed District residents increased by 1,500 over the month to 374,800. The civilian labor force decreased by 100 to 409,200.
  • One year ago, total employment was 399,800 and the civilian labor force was 420,400.

The number of unemployed was 20,500, and the unemployment rate was 4.9 percent.

NOTES: The January 2021 final and February 2021 preliminary unemployment rates, will be released on Friday, March 26, 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.