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District of Columbia Unemployment Rate Down 1.2 Percent from January 2015, Now 6.5 Percent

Monday, March 14, 2016
Washington, DC – The District of Columbia Department of Employment Services reported today that the seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate was 6.5 percent in January – down 0.1 percentage point from the reported December 2015 rate and down 1.2 percent since Mayor Muriel Bowser took office in January 2015. “Our economy is healthy and we are on the right track,” said Mayor Bowser. “But we must do more to ensure that every resident in the District of Columbia is connected to employment, or the training necessary to support them on their pathway to the middle class.”  
 
The number of employed District residents was up 1,300 from 365,000 in December 2015 to 366,300 in January 2016.
 
The District’s preliminary January job estimates show a decrease of 4,100 jobs, for a total of 767,100 jobs in the District. The private sector decreased by 3,600 jobs while the public sector payrolls decreased by 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. 
 
Based on more complete reporting from employers, previously released December estimates were revised downward to show an over-the-month (November 15 to December 15) total non-farm employment decrease of 2,100 jobs.  
 
Employment Overview
  • Trade, Transportation, and Utilities sector decreased by 1,300 jobs, after having an increase of 500 jobs in December. With employment at 33,100, jobs are up by 1,700 or 5.4 percent from a year ago.
  • Educational and Health Services sector increased by 500 jobs, after a decrease of 2,100 jobs in the prior month. With employment sector totals at 129,400, jobs are up by 400 or 0.3 percent from a year ago.
  • Information sector decreased by 100 jobs, after a decrease of 100 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 16,900, jobs are up by 300 or 1.8 percent from one year ago.
  • Financial Activities sector decreased by 100 jobs, after having an increase of 400 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 30,500, jobs are up by 300 or 1.0 percent from one year ago.
  • Manufacturing sector increased by 100 jobs, after having no change in jobs in the prior month. With employment sector totals at 1,200, jobs are up by 200 or 20.0 percent from one year ago.
  • Professional and Business Services sector decreased by 1,200 jobs, after a decrease of 1,500 jobs in December. With employment at 160,800, jobs are up by 2,600 or 1.6 percent from a year ago.
  • Construction sector decreased by 200 jobs, after a decrease of 100 jobs in December. With employment at 14,000, jobs are up by 400 or 2.9 percent over the year.
  • Other Services sector decreased by 800 jobs, after having a decrease of 100 jobs the prior month. With employment at 69,800, jobs are down by 400 or -0.6 percent from a year ago.
  • Leisure and Hospitality sector decreased by 500 jobs, after an increase of 700 jobs in December. With employment at 73,300, jobs are up by 3,200 or 4.6 percent over the year.
Labor Force Overview
  • The number of employed District residents increased by 1,300 over the month to 366,300. The civilian labor force increased by 1,100 to 391,800.
  • One year ago, total employment was 356,500 and the civilian labor force was 385,200.  The number of unemployed was 28,700, and the unemployment rate was 7.4 percent.
NOTES: The January 2016 final and February 2016 preliminary unemployment rate and survey of jobs data for the District will be released on Friday, March 25, 2016. Historical jobs and labor force estimates for the District of Columbia and detailed labor market information is available at: http://does.dc.gov/page/labor-statistics
 
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 2015 annual benchmark revisions.
 
Industry employment data is not seasonally adjusted.