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District of Columbia Unemployment Rate Drops to 6.4 Percent in April

Friday, May 20, 2016
Washington, DC – The District of Columbia Department of Employment Services reported today that the seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate was 6.4 percent in April – down 0.1 percent from the reported March 2016 unemployment rate and down 1.0 percent since January 2015.  Notably, the Ward 7 unemployment rate was 9.9 percent, the first drop below 10 percent since 2007’s annual average rate of 9.3 percent. 
 
“Today’s labor market report makes it clear that the District’s economy is thriving and that more residents are benefitting from that prosperity,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser. “The District has added more than 23,000 jobs since January 2015 and our unemployment is down both citywide and in key wards. However, more can be done. Through the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Greater Economic Opportunity, we work to give residents a fair shot, good paying jobs, and a pathway to the middle class.”
 
The District’s preliminary April job estimates show an increase of 6,200 jobs, for a total of 778,800 jobs in the District. The private sector increased by 5,600 jobs while the public sector payrolls 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.
 
The number of employed District residents was up 2,800 from 368,500 in March 2016 to 371,300 in April 2016. 
 
Based on more complete reporting from employers, previously released March estimates were revised downward to show an over-the-month (February 16- March 16) total non-farm employment increase of 1,700 jobs. 
 
Employment Overview
 
  • Trade, Transportation, and Utilities sectors increased by 500 jobs, after having a decrease of 300 jobs in March. With employment at 33,400, jobs are up by 2,000 or 6.4 percent from a year ago.
  • Educational and Health Services sector increased by 1,300 jobs, after an increase of 700 jobs in the prior month. With employment sector totals at 133,800, jobs are up by 1,700 or 1.3 percent from a year ago.
  • Information sector decreased by 200 jobs, after having no change in jobs in the prior month. With employment at 16,800, jobs are down by 200 or -1.2 percent from one year ago.
  • Financial Activities sector increased by 100 jobs, after an increase of 300 jobs the prior month. With employment at 30,600, jobs are up by 600 or 2.0 percent 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, jobs were up by 100 or 9.1 percent from one year ago.
  • Professional and Business Services sector increased by 1,700 jobs, after a decrease of 100 jobs in March. With employment at 163,200, jobs are up by 2,400 or 1.5 percent from a year ago.
  • Construction sector increased by 100 jobs, after an increase of 200 jobs in March. With employment at 14,300, jobs are up by 200 or 1.4 percent over the year.
  • Other Services sector decreased by 100 jobs, after having an increase of 900 jobs the prior month. With employment at 70,500, jobs are down by 300 or -0.4 percent from a year ago.
  • Leisure and Hospitality sector increased by 2,200 jobs, after an increase of 800 jobs in March. With employment at 76,200, jobs are up by 2,200 or 3.0 percent over the year.
 
Labor Force Overview
  • The number of employed District residents increased by 2,800 over the month to 371,300. The civilian labor force increased by 2,400 to 396,600.
  • One year ago, total employment was 359,400 and the civilian labor force was 386,900.  The number of unemployed was 27,400, and the unemployment rate was 7.1 percent.
 
NOTES: The April 2016 final and May 2016 preliminary unemployment rate and survey of jobs data for the District will be released on Friday, June 17, 2016. 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 2015 annual benchmark revisions.
 
Industry employment data is not seasonally adjusted.