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District of Columbia Unemployment Rate Holds Steady at 6.5 Percent in February

Friday, March 25, 2016

The District of Columbia Department of Employment Services (DOES) reported today that seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate was 6.5 percent in February – unchanged from the reported January rate.   

The District’s preliminary February job estimates show an increase of 3,600 jobs, for a total of 771,200 jobs in the District. The private sector increased by 3,400 jobs while the public sector payrolls increased 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 700 from 366,400 in January 2016 to 367,100 in February 2016.  “We are encouraged by the District jobs increase and steady unemployment rate, but we know there is more work to be done to ensure all residents have the employability tools necessary to succeed on their pathway to the middle class,” said DOES Director Deborah Carroll.

Based on more complete reporting from employers, previously released January estimates were revised downward to show an over-the-month (December 15- January 16) total non-farm employment decrease of 3,600 jobs.

Employment Overview

  • Trade, Transportation, and Utilities sector decreased by 200 jobs, after having a decrease of 1,100 jobs in January. With employment at 33,100, jobs are up by 1,800 or 5.8 percent from a year ago.
  • Educational and Health Services sector increased by 2,900 jobs, after a decrease of 400 jobs in the prior month. With employment sector totals at 131,400, jobs are up by 800 or 0.6 percent from a year ago.
  • Information sector increased by 100 jobs, after a decrease of 100 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 17,000, jobs are up by 300 or 1.8 percent from one year ago.
  • Financial Activities sector decreased by 300 jobs, after having a decrease of 100 jobs the prior month. With employment at 30,200, jobs are down by 200 or -0.7 percent from one year ago.
  • Manufacturing sector had no over-the-month change in jobs, after having an increase of 100 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 increased by 500 jobs, after a decrease of 1,100 jobs in January. With employment at 161,400, jobs are up by 2,100 or 1.3 percent from a year ago.
  • Construction sector decreased by 100 jobs, after a decrease of 100 jobs in January. With employment at 14,000, jobs are up by 500 or 3.7 percent over the year.
  • Other Services sector decreased by 400 jobs, after having a decrease of 600 jobs the prior month. With employment at 69,600, jobs are down by 1,000 or -1.4 percent from a year ago.
  • Leisure and Hospitality sector increased by 900 jobs, after a decrease of 300 jobs in January. With employment at 74,400, jobs are up by 4,000 or 5.7 percent over the year.

Labor Force Overview

  • The number of employed District residents increased by 700 over the month to 367,100. The civilian labor force increased by 1,000 to 392,800.
  • One year ago, total employment was 357,400 and the civilian labor force was 385,700.  The number of unemployed was 28,300, and the unemployment rate was 7.3 percent.

Notes: The February 2016 final and March 2016 preliminary unemployment rate and survey of jobs data for the District will be released on Monday, April 18, 2016. Historical jobs and labor force estimates for the District of Columbia and detailed labor market information is available at 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.