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District’s Unemployment Rate Drops to 8.8 Percent

Friday, September 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 August job estimates show a decrease of 16,500 jobs, for a total of 731,000 jobs in the District. The private sector lost 4,400 jobs, while the public sector payrolls decreased by 12,100 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 8.8 percent in August and is 0.1 percent lower from the previous month. The number of unemployed District residents decreased by 500 from 31,700 in July 2012 to 31,200 in August 2012. 
Based on more complete reporting from employers, previously released July estimates were revised downward to show an over-the-month (June-July), total non-farm employment increase of 10,700 jobs. The July revised unemployment rate stays at 8.9 percent.
Employment Overview
  • Trade, Transportation, and Utilities lost 300 jobs, after gaining 100 jobs in July. With employment at 27,200, jobs are up by 700 or 2.6 percent from a year ago.
  • Professional and Business Services lost 2,100 jobs, after a 700 job loss in July. With employment at 149,400, jobs are down by 900 or -0.6 percent from a year ago.
  • Leisure and Hospitality dropped 900 jobs, after a loss of 600 jobs in July. With employment at 63,400, jobs are up by 1,300 or 2.1 percent over the year.
  • Financial Activities gained 300 jobs, after a loss of 400 jobs the prior month. With employment at 26,800, jobs are down by 200 or -0.7 percent from one year ago.
  • Educational and Health Services decreased by 1,900 jobs, after a gain of 600 jobs the prior month. With employment at 116,100, jobs are up by 5,000 or 4.5 percent from a year ago. 
  • Other Services gained 200 jobs, after an increase of 400 jobs the prior month. At 69,900, employment is up by 1,300 or 1.9 percent from a year ago.
  • Construction gained 200 jobs, after a gain of 500 jobs in July. At 14,300, employment is up by 1,800 jobs or 14.4 percent from a year ago.
  • Information gained 100 jobs, after a loss of 100 jobs in July. At 18,500, employment is down by 200 jobs or -1.1 percent from one year ago.
  • Manufacturing had no over-the-month job change, after a loss of 100 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 1,000, jobs were down by 100 or -9.1 percent 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 800 over the month to 322,900. The civilian labor force increased by 300 to 354,100. 
  • One year ago, total employment was 306,500 and the civilian labor force was 342,300.  The number of unemployed was 35,800, and the unemployment rate was 10.5 percent. 
NOTES: The August final and September 2012 preliminary unemployment rate and survey of jobs data for the District will be released on Friday, October 19, 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 at the BLS Web site.