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District’s Unemployment Rate Holds at 9.8 Percent

Friday, April 20, 2012
The private sector gained 3,200 jobs, while the public sector payrolls increased by 1,000 jobs.

The District of Columbia Department of Employment Services reported today that the preliminary March job estimates show an increase of 4,200 jobs, for a total of 735,500 jobs in the District. The private sector gained 3,200 jobs, while the public sector payrolls increased by 1,000 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 9.8 percent in March and is unchanged from the previous month. The number of unemployed District residents decreased only slightly – from 34,300 in February 2012 to 34,200 in March 2012.

Based on more complete reporting from employers, previously released February estimates were revised downward by 400 jobs to show an over-the-month (January-February) total non-farm employment gain of 5,500 jobs. The February revised unemployment rate decreased 0.1 percent to 9.8 percent from 9.9 percent.

Employment Overview

  • Trade, Transportation, and Utilities gained 400 jobs, after a 100 job gain in February. With employment at 27,400, the sector is up by 300 jobs or 1.1 percent from a year ago.
  • Professional and Business Services gained 900 jobs, after a 200 job gain in February. With employment at 150,300, jobs are up by 1,900 or 1.3 percent from a year ago.
  • Leisure and Hospitality gained 1,500 jobs, after a gain of 300 jobs in February. With employment at 63,200, jobs are up by 3,100 or 5.2 percent over the year.
  • Financial Activities decreased by 100 jobs, after a 100 job gain in February. With employment at 26,600, there was no change in jobs from one year ago.
  • Educational and Health Services decreased by 400 jobs, after a gain of 4,900 jobs the prior month. With employment at 123,100, jobs are up by 9,000 or 7.9 percent from a year ago.
  • Other Services increased by 400 jobs, after an increase of 400 jobs the prior month. At 69,000, employment is up by 2,400 or 3.6 percent from a year ago.
  • Construction gained 300 jobs, after a gain of 600 jobs in February. At 12,900, employment is up by 1,700 jobs or 15.2 percent from a year ago.
  • Information gained 200 jobs, after a gain of 100 jobs in February. At 18,500, employment is down by 100 jobs or -0.5 percent from one year ago.
  • Manufacturing continues to have no over-the-month job change, after having no job change the prior month. With employment at 1,000, this sector lost 100 jobs or -9.1 percent from a 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 900 over the month to 314,500. The civilian labor force increased by 800 to 348,600.
  • One year ago, total employment was 311,000 and the civilian labor force was 345,500.  The number of unemployed was 34,500, and the unemployment rate was 10.0 percent.

NOTES: The March final and April 2012 preliminary unemployment rate and survey of jobs data for the District will be released on Friday, May 18, 2012. Historical jobs and labor force estimates for the District of Columbia and detailed labor market information is available on the DOES website under Labor Statistics.

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.


  • Wage and Salary Employment by Industry and Place of Work [PDF]
  • Employment Status for the Civilian Population [PDF]

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 Bureau of Labor Statistics with the production of preliminary estimates for March 2011.  Concurrent with this transition, the Bureau of Labor Statistics 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 Bureau of Labor Statistics website.