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District of Columbia Unemployment Rate at 8.4 Percent in July

Friday, August 21, 2020

(Washington, DC) – The District of Columbia’s Department of Employment Services (DOES) reported today that the seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate was 8.4 percent in July; this was a decrease of 0.3 percentage points from the reported June rate.

The District’s preliminary July job estimates show an increase of 15,700 jobs, for a total of 754,400 jobs in the District. The private sector increased by 8,000 jobs. The public sector increased by 7,700 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 is encouraged and continues to provide critical support and workforce services that are responsive to the needs of residents and employers across the District,” said DOES Director Dr. Unique Morris-Hughes. “The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact our economy and we are working to ensure all residents have access to the resources and tools they need during this unprecedented time.”  

The number of employed District residents increased by 300 from 359,700 in June 2020 to 360,000 in July 2020. The civilian labor force for the District decreased by 700 from 393,800 in June 2020 to 393,100 in July 2020. The labor force participation rate decreased by 0.2 percentage points from 67.9 percent in June 2020 to 67.7 percent in July 2020.

Employment Overview

  • Manufacturing sector remained the same, after remaining the same as the prior month. With employment at 1,200 jobs, jobs decreased by 100 or 7.69 percent from a year ago.
  • Mining, Logging and Construction sector increased by 100 jobs, after an increase of 1,100 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 15,100 jobs, jobs have remained the same as the previous year.
  • Trade Transportation and Utilities sector increased by 1,900 jobs, after an increase of 600 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 32,100 jobs, jobs decreased by 900 or 2.73 percent from a year ago.
  • Information sector remained the same as the previous month, after a decrease of 300 in the prior month. With employment at 18,700 jobs, jobs decreased by 1,500 or 7.43 percent from a year ago.
  • Financial Activities sector remained the same as the previous month, after a decrease of 500 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 28,900 jobs, jobs decreased by 1,300 jobs or 4.3 percent from a year ago.
  • Professional and Business Services sector increased by 2,300 jobs, after a decrease of 1,200 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 166,500 jobs, jobs decreased by 5,900 or 3.42 percent from a year ago.
  • Educational and Health Services sector decreased by 400 jobs, after a decrease of 1,400 in the prior month. With employment at 117,700 jobs, jobs decreased by 8,000 or 6.36 percent from a year ago.
  • Leisure and Hospitality sector increased by 4,200 jobs, after an increase of 9,500 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 48,200 jobs, jobs decreased by 34,300 or 41.58 percent from a year ago.
  • Other Services sector decreased by 100 jobs, after an increase of 300 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 76,900 jobs, jobs decreased by 1,800 or 2.29 percent from a year ago.

Labor Force Overview

  •  The number of employed District residents increased by 300 over the month to 360,000. The civilian labor force decreased by 700 to 393,100.
  • One year ago, total employment was 388,100 and the civilian labor force was 410,000.

The number of unemployed was 21,900, and the unemployment rate was 5.4 percent.

NOTES: The July 2020 final and August 2020 preliminary unemployment rates, will be released on Friday, September 18, 2020. Historical 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 2019 annual benchmark revisions.
Industry employment data is not seasonally adjusted.