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District Unemployment Rate Holds Steady at 6.4 Percent in August

Friday, September 15, 2017

(Washington, DC) – The District of Columbia Department of Employment Services (DOES) reported today that the seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate was 6.4 percent in August – this was unchanged from the reported July rate.

The District’s preliminary August job estimates show a decrease of 15,600 jobs, for a total of 786,900 jobs in the District. The private sector decreased by 4,200 jobs while the public sector payrolls decreased by 11,400 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 steady unemployment rate in August, despite the end of the summer jobs season, reflects the return of once skeptical job seekers to a now strong job market in search of gainful employment,” said DOES Director Odie Donald II.

The number of employed District residents was down 900 from 377,500 in July 2017 to 376,600 in August 2017.

Employment Overview

  • Trade, Transportation, and Utilities sectors had no over-the-month job change, after having a decrease of 300 jobs in July. With employment at 32,600, jobs are up by 100 or 0.3 percent from a year ago.
  • Educational and Health Services sector increased by 200 jobs, after a decrease of 700 jobs in the prior month. With employment sector totals at 132,500, jobs are up by 6,700 or 5.3 percent from a year ago.
  • Information sector had no over-the-month job change, after a decrease of 100 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 16,800, jobs are down by 300 or -1.8 percent from one year ago.
  • Financial Activities sector increased by 200 jobs, after an increase of 500 jobs the prior month. With employment at 30,100, jobs are down by 400 or -1.3 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, there were no change in jobs from one year ago.
  • Professional and Business Services sector decreased by 1,900 jobs, after an increase of 400 jobs in July. With employment at 168,700, jobs are up by 3,000 or 1.8 percent from a year ago.
  • Construction sector decreased by 100 jobs, after an increase of 200 jobs in July. With employment at 15,000, jobs are up by 300 or 2.0 percent over the year.
  • Other Services sector decreased by 300 jobs, after having an increase of 200 jobs the prior month. With employment at 72,300, jobs are down by 500 or -0.7 percent from a year ago.
  • Leisure and Hospitality sector decreased by 2,300 jobs, after having an increase of 500 jobs in July. With employment at 80,600, jobs are up by 5,600 or 7.5 percent over the year.

Labor Force Overview

  • The number of employed District residents decreased by 900 over the month to 376,600. The civilian labor force was decreased by 800 to 402,400.
  • One year ago, total employment was 368,600 and the civilian labor force was 392,100. The number of unemployed was 23,500, and the unemployment rate was 6.0 percent.

NOTES: The August 2017 final and September 2017 preliminary unemployment rate and survey of jobs data will be released on Friday, October 20, 2017. Historical jobs and labor force estimates for the District of Columbia and detailed labor market information is available at: http://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 2016 annual benchmark revisions.

Industry employment data is not seasonally adjusted.