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District of Columbia Unemployment Rate at 8.9 Percent in May

Friday, June 19, 2020

Washington, DC – The District of Columbia Department of Employment Services reported today that the seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate was 8.9 percent in May; this was a decrease of 2.8 percent from the reported April rate.

The District’s preliminary May job estimates show a decrease of 12,000 jobs, for a total of 726,200 jobs in the District. The private sector decreased by 11,700 jobs.  The public sector decreased by 300 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 decreased by 2,300 from 355,500 in April 2020 to 353,200 in May 2020. The civilian labor force for the District was down 15,000 from 402,500 in April 2020 to 387,500 in May 2020. The labor force participation rate decreased by 2.6 percent from 69.4 percent in April 2020 to 66.8 percent in May 2020.

Employment Overview

  • Manufacturing sector remained the same, after a decrease of 100 jobs in 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 increased by 300 jobs, after a decrease of 1,100 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 13,700 jobs, jobs decreased by 1,300 or 8.67 percent from a year ago.
  • Trade Transportation and Utilities sector decreased by 800 jobs, after a decrease of 4,300 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 29,300 jobs, jobs decreased by 3,900 or 11.75 percent from a year ago.
  • Information sector decreased by 1,900 jobs, after a decrease of 600 in the prior month. With employment at 18,500 jobs, jobs decreased by 1,100 or 5.61 percent from a year ago.
  • Financial Activities sector increased by 200 jobs, after a decrease of 500 jobs in the prior month.  With employment at 29,400 jobs, jobs decreased by 200 jobs or .68 percent from a year ago.
  • Professional and Business Services sector decreased by 4,600 jobs, after a decrease of 4,000 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 164,600 jobs, jobs decreased by 4,900 or 2.89 percent from a year ago.
  • Educational and Health Services sector decreased by 1,900 jobs, after a decrease of 8,100 in the prior month. With employment at 120,800 jobs, jobs decreased by 7,700 or 5.99 percent from a year ago.
  • Leisure and Hospitality sector decreased by 2,900 jobs, after a decrease of 41,300 jobs in the prior month.  With employment at 33,800 jobs, jobs decreased by 49,600 or 59.47 percent from a year ago.
  • Other Services sector decreased by 100 jobs, after a decrease of 1,700 jobs in the prior month.  With employment at 76,500 jobs, jobs decreased by 600 or .78 percent from a year ago.

Labor Force Overview

  • The number of employed District residents decreased by 2,300 over the month to 353,200. The civilian labor force decreased by 15,000 to 387,500.
  • One year ago, total employment was 386,500 and the civilian labor force was 409,100.

          The number of unemployed was 22,600, and the unemployment rate was 5.5 percent.

NOTES: The May 2020 final and June 2020 preliminary unemployment rate, will be released on Friday, July 17, 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.