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District of Columbia Unemployment Rate Drops to 6.0 Percent in December

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

(Washington, DC) The District of Columbia Department of Employment Services reported today that the seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate was 6.0 percent in December – this was down 0.4 percentage points from the reported November rate.

“We remain encouraged as we see the steady decline in unemployment,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser. “My Administration remains focused on ensuring that all District residents have access to the resources, tools and acquire the skills needed to secure jobs that will place them on the pathway to the middle class.”

The District’s preliminary December job estimates show a decrease of 700 jobs, for a total of 797,400 jobs in the District. The private sector decreased by 500 jobs while the public sector payrolls decreased by 200 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 was up 2,100 from 374,900 in November 2017 to 377,000 in December 2017.

Employment Overview

  • Trade, Transportation, and Utilities sector had no over-the-month job change, after having an increase of 400 jobs in November. With employment at 33,200, jobs are up by 500 or 1.5 percent from a year ago.
  • Educational and Health Services sector decreased by 1,500 jobs, after an increase of 800 jobs in the prior month. With employment sector totals at 140,200, jobs are up by 2,400 or 1.7 percent from a year ago.
  • Information sector increased by 100 jobs, after an increase of 100 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 16,800, jobs are down by 100 or -0.6 percent from one year ago.
  • Financial Activities sector increased by 200 jobs, after a decrease of 200 jobs the prior month. With employment at 29,800, there was no change in jobs from one year ago.
  • Manufacturing sector had no over-the-month change in jobs, after having no change in jobs in the prior month. With employment sector totals at 1,200, there were no change in jobs from one year ago.
  • Professional and Business Services sector decreased by 600 jobs, after an increase of 100 jobs in November. With employment at 170,200, jobs are up by 1,800 or 1.1 percent from a year ago.
  • Construction sector decreased by 100 jobs, after a decrease of 100 jobs in November. With employment at 14,500, jobs are up by 200 or 1.4 percent over the year.
  • Other Services sector increased by 800 jobs, after having an increase of 600 jobs the prior month. With employment at 73,500, jobs are up by 2,100 or 2.9 percent from a year ago.
  • Leisure and Hospitality sector increased by 600 jobs, after having a decrease of 1,700 jobs in November. With employment at 80,800, jobs are up by 4,100 or 5.3 percent over the year.

Labor Force Overview

  • The number of employed District residents increased by 2,100 over the month to 377,000. The civilian labor force was increased by 500 to 401,000.
  • One year ago, total employment was 371,300 and the civilian labor force was 393,800.  The number of unemployed was 22,400, and the unemployment rate was 5.7 percent.

NOTES: The December 2017 final and January 2018 preliminary unemployment rate and survey of jobs data along with the 2017 Annual Benchmark data for the District of Columbia, will be released on Monday, March 12, 2018. 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 2016 annual benchmark revisions.

Industry employment data is not seasonally adjusted.