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District Unemployment Rate Drops to 8.4 Percent

Friday, December 21, 2012
District of Columbia Unemployment Rate Continues to Decline.

Washington, DC – The District of Columbia Department of Employment Services reported today that the preliminary November job estimates show a decrease of 1,800 jobs, for a total of 737,400 jobs in the District. The private sector lost 1,500 jobs, while the public sector payrolls decreased by 300 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 District’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 8.4 percent in November and is 0.1 percentage point lower than the previous month. The number of unemployed District residents decreased by 300 from 30,700 in October 2012 to 30,400 in November 2012.

Based on more complete reporting from employers, previously released October estimates were revised upward to show an over-the-month (September-October), total non-farm employment increase of 4,700 jobs. The October revised unemployment rate remains at 8.5 percent.

Employment Overview

  • Trade, Transportation, and Utilities lost 100 jobs, after a loss of 500 jobs in October. With employment at 26,900, jobs are down by 900 or -3.2 percent from a year ago.
  • Professional and Business Services lost 200 jobs, after a gain of 2,400 jobs in October. With employment at 150,200, jobs are down by 2,700 or -1.8 percent from a year ago.
  • Leisure and Hospitality lost 600 jobs, after a loss of 300 jobs in October. With employment at 62,800, jobs are down by 800 or -1.3 percent over the year.
  • Financial Activities gained 100 jobs, after having no change in jobs the prior month. With employment at 27,000, jobs are down by 200 or -0.7 percent from one year ago.
  • Educational and Health Services increased by 400 jobs, after a gain of 3,800 jobs the prior month. With employment at 126,000, jobs are up by 3,800 or 3.1 percent from a year ago.
  • Other Services lost 200 jobs, after gaining 500 jobs the prior month. At 70,000, employment is up by 1,400 or 2.0 percent from a year ago.
  • Construction lost 800 jobs, after a loss of 100 jobs in October. At 12,900, employment is up by 100 jobs or 0.8 percent from a year ago.
  • Information dropped 100 jobs, after a loss of 100 jobs in October. At 17,900, employment is down by 600 jobs or -3.2 percent from one year ago.
  • Manufacturing had no over-the-month job change, after having no job change the prior month. With employment at 1,000, there was no change in jobs from one year ago.  Manufacturing is the smallest sector in the District, accounting for less than 0.2 percent of total payroll employment.

Labor Force Overview

  • The number of District residents employed increased by 3,800 over the month to 333,400. The civilian labor force increased by 3,400 to 363,800.
  • One year ago, total employment was 309,500 and the civilian labor force was 344,600.  The number of unemployed was 35,100, and the unemployment rate was 10.2 percent.

NOTESThe November final and December 2012 preliminary unemployment rate and survey of jobs data for the District will be released on Friday, January18, 2013. 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 at through the use of two different monthly surveys.

Industry employment data are derived through 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 2011 annual benchmark revisions.

Industry employment data is not seasonally adjusted.

Announcement: Changes to the Procedures for Producing Current Employment Statistics (CES) State Estimates

Production of March Preliminary Current Employment Statistics Data

The production of State and metropolitan area Current Employment Statistics (CES) estimates has transitioned from State Workforce Agencies to the BLS with the production of preliminary estimates for March 2011.  Concurrent with this transition, the BLS will implement several methodological changes to standardize the estimation approach across States.  While these changes will reduce the potential for statistical bias in State and metropolitan area estimates, they may increase the month-to-month variability of the estimates.  More detailed information on the changes to procedures for producing CES estimates is available on the  BLS Website.