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District Unemployment Rate Drops to 8.5 Percent

Tuesday, November 20, 2012
District of Columbia Economy gains 4,800 Private Sector Jobs in October

Washington, DC – The District of Columbia Department of Employment Services reported today that the preliminary October job estimates show an increase of 4,100 jobs, for a total of 738,600 jobs in the District. The private sector gained 4,800 jobs, while the public sector payrolls decreased by 700 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 unemployment rate was 8.5 percent in October and is 0.2 percentage points lower than the previous month. The number of unemployed District residents decreased by 100 from 30,900 in September 2012 to 30,800 in October 2012.

Based on more complete reporting from employers, previously released September estimates were revised downward to show an over-the-month (August-September), total non-farm employment increase of 5,500 jobs. The September revised unemployment rate remains at 8.7 percent.

Employment Overview

  • Trade, Transportation, and Utilities gained 100 jobs, after a gain of 200 jobs in September. With employment at 27,600, jobs are up by 600 or 2.2 percent from a year ago.
  • Professional and Business Services gained 800 jobs, after a 500 job loss in September. With employment at 148,800, jobs are down by 2,900 or -1.9 percent from a year ago.
  • Leisure and Hospitality lost 700 jobs, after a gain of 300 jobs in September. With employment at 63,000, jobs are down by 200 or -0.3 percent over the year.
  • Financial Activities had no over-the-month job change, after a gain of 100 jobs the prior month. With employment at 26,900, jobs are down by 100 or -0.4 percent from one year ago.
  • Educational and Health Services increased by 3,800 jobs, after a gain of 6,000 jobs the prior month. With employment at 125,600, jobs are up by 5,400 or 4.5 percent from a year ago.
  • Other Services gained 500 jobs, after having no job change the prior month. At 70,200, employment is up by 2,300 or 3.4 percent from a year ago.
  • Construction gained 400 jobs, after a loss of 500 jobs in September. At 14,200, employment is up by 1,900 jobs or 15.4 percent from a year ago.
  • Information dropped 100 jobs, after a loss of 300 jobs in September. At 18,000, 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 3,200 over the month to 329,600. The civilian labor force increased by 3,100 to 360,400.
  • One year ago, total employment was 308,500 and the civilian labor force was 343,900.  The number of unemployed was 35,400, and the unemployment rate was 10.3 percent.

NOTES: The October final and November 2012 preliminary unemployment rate and survey of jobs data for the District will be released on Friday, December 21, 2012. 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.