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District of Columbia Unemployment Rate Holds Steady at 6.6 Percent in December

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The District of Columbia Department of Employment Services reported today that the seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate was 6.6 percent in December – unchanged from the reported and revised November unemployment rate.    

“Our unemployment rate remains 1.1 percent lower than a year ago. This demonstrates that our city is headed in the right direction, but we will continue to work to get more District residents back to work and on the pathway to the middle class,” said Deputy Mayor for Greater Economic Opportunity Courtney R. Snowden.  The District’s preliminary December job estimates show a decrease of 900 jobs, for a total of 774,600 jobs in the District. The public sector payrolls increased by 1,700 jobs, while private sector decreased by 2,600 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 400 from 363,400 in November 2015 to 363,800 in December 2015.

Based on more complete reporting from employers, previously released November estimates were revised downward to show an over-the-month (October 15- November 15) total non-farm employment decrease of 100 jobs.  

Employment Overview

  • Trade, Transportation, and Utilities sectors increased by 400 jobs, after having an increase of 900 jobs in November. With employment at 33,300, jobs are up by 100 or 0.3 percent from a year ago.
  • Educational and Health Services sector decreased by 2,400 jobs, after an increase of 400 jobs in the prior month. With employment sector totals at 131,700, jobs are up by 400 or 0.3 percent from a year ago.
  • Information sector decreased by 100 jobs, after an increase of 100 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 17,000, there was no change in jobs from one year ago.
  • Financial Activities sector increased by 100 jobs, after having no change in jobs the prior month. With employment at 31,400, jobs are up by 800 or 2.6 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 1,000, there was no change in jobs from one year ago.
  • Professional and Business Services sector decreased by 1,500 jobs, after a decrease of 500 jobs in November. With employment at 165,600, jobs are up by 4,700 or 2.9 percent from a year ago.
  • Construction sector decreased by 100 jobs, after a decrease of 200 jobs in November. With employment at 14,500, jobs are up by 400 or 2.8 percent over the year.
  • Other Services sector had no over-the-month job change, after having a decrease of 500 jobs the prior month. With employment at 72,300, jobs are up by 2,300 or 3.3 percent from a year ago.
  • Leisure and Hospitality sector increased by 1,000 jobs, after a decrease of 800 jobs in November. With employment at 70,700, jobs are up by 1,400 or 2.0 percent over the year.

Labor Force Overview

  • The number of employed District residents increased by 400 over the month to 363,800. The civilian labor force increased by 300 to 389,400.
  • One year ago, total employment was 355,100 and the civilian labor force was 384,700.  The number of unemployed was 29,600, and the unemployment rate was 7.7 percent.


NOTES: The December 2015 final and January 2016 preliminary unemployment rate and survey of jobs data for the District will be released on Monday, March 14, 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 2014 annual benchmark revisions.

Industry employment data is not seasonally adjusted.