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District’s Unemployment Rate Drops to 8.7 Percent

Friday, October 19, 2012

Washington, DC – The District of Columbia Department of Employment Services reported today that the preliminary September job estimates show an increase of 7,600 jobs, for a total of 736,600 jobs in the District. The private sector gained 7,400 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 District’s unemployment rate was 8.7 percent in September and is 0.1 percentage point lower than the previous month. The number of unemployed District residents decreased by 300 from 31,200 in August 2012 to 30,900 in September 2012.

Based on more complete reporting from employers, previously released August estimates were revised downward to show an over-the-month (July-August), total non-farm employment decrease of 18,500 jobs. The August revised unemployment rate stays at 8.8 percent.

Employment Overview

  • Trade, Transportation, and Utilities gained 300 jobs, after a loss of 200 jobs in August. With employment at 27,600, jobs are up by 900 or 3.4 percent from a year ago.
  • Professional and Business Services lost 300 jobs, after a 3,000 job loss in August. With employment at 148,200, jobs are down by 2,200 or -1.5 percent from a year ago.
  • Leisure and Hospitality gained 100 jobs, after a loss of 900 jobs in August. With employment at 63,500, jobs are up by 1,700 or 2.8 percent over the year.
  • Financial Activities gained 200 jobs, after a gain of 300 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 7,900 jobs, after a loss of 2,200 jobs the prior month. With employment at 123,700, jobs are up by 6,900 or 5.9 percent from a year ago.
  • Other Services had no over-the-month job change, after having no job change the prior month. At 69,700, employment is up by 2,400 or 3.6 percent from a year ago.
  • Construction lost 500 jobs, after a gain of 200 jobs in August. At 13,800, employment is up by 1,600 jobs or 13.1 percent from a year ago.
  • Information dropped 300 jobs, after having no job change in August. At 18,100, employment is down by 500 jobs or -2.7 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. Employment in manufacturing has remained constantly stable. 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 3,700 over the month to 326,500. The civilian labor force increased by 3,400 to 357,400.
  • One year ago, total employment was 307,500 and the civilian labor force was 343,200.  The number of unemployed was 35,700, and the unemployment rate was 10.4 percent.

NOTES: The September final and October 2012 preliminary unemployment rate and survey of jobs data for the District will be released on Tuesday, November 20, 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 Web site at