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Labor Market Growth Inches District of Columbia Unemployment Rate Up to 5.2% in March

Friday, April 19, 2024

(WASHINGTON, DC) – Today, the District of Columbia’s Department of Employment Services (DOES) reported that the seasonally-adjusted preliminary unemployment rate was 5.2% in March 2024, up 0.1% from the revised February 2024 rate of 5.1%.

The District’s preliminary job estimates for March show an overall increase of 400 jobs, for a total of 765,800 jobs in the District. The private sector increased by 300 jobs. The public sector increased by 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.

Providing Washingtonians with resources, access, and support across all eight wards remains a top priority to the Bowser Administration, especially during this budget season,” said DOES Director Dr. Unique Morris-Hughes. “The proposed budget highlights our commitment to the District’s residents and the importance of providing job training, placement resources, and clear pathways to in-demand careers.”

The number of employed District residents increased by 1,800, from 383,900 in February 2024 to 385,700 in March 2024. The civilian labor force for the District increased by 2,200, from 404,600 in February 2024 to 406,800 in March 2024. The labor force participation rate increased by 0.3% from 72.3% in February 2024 to 72.6% in March 2024.

Employment Overview

  • Manufacturing sector increased by 100 jobs, after remaining the same in the prior month. With employment at 1,100 jobs, jobs increased by 100 or 10% from a year ago.
  • Mining, Logging and Construction sectors increased by 300 jobs, after decreasing by 200 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 14,500 jobs, jobs decreased by 700 or 4.61% from a year ago.
  • Trade, Transportation, and Utilities sector increased by 200, after decreasing by 200 in the prior month. With employment at 30,400 jobs, jobs increased by 400 or 1.33% from a year ago.
  • Information sector increased by 200 jobs, after increasing by 100 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 19,500 jobs, jobs decreased by 500 or 2.5% from a year ago.
  • Financial Activities sector remains the same, after remaining the same in the prior month. With employment 25,700 jobs, jobs decreased by 500 or 1.91% from a year ago.
  • Professional and Business Services sector decreased by 200 jobs, after increasing by 300 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 173,500 jobs, jobs decreased by 2,000 or 1.14% from a year ago.
  • Educational and Health Services sector decreased by 1,800 jobs, after increasing by 1,400 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 122,700 jobs, jobs increased by 300 or .25% from a year ago.
  • Leisure and Hospitality sector increased by 900 jobs, after increasing by 2,200 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 75,800 jobs, jobs increased by 1,500 or 2.02% from a year ago.
  • Other Services sector increased by 600 jobs, after an increase of 600 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 68,200 jobs, jobs increased by 1,200 or 1.79% from a year ago.

Labor Force Overview

  • The number of employed District residents increased by 1,800 over the month to 385,700. The civilian labor force increased by 2,200 to 406,800.
  • One year ago, total employment was 374,800 and the civilian labor force was 394,400.
  • The number of unemployed was 19,600, and the unemployment rate was 5.0%.

NOTES: The March 2024 final and April 2024 preliminary unemployment rates will be released on Friday May 17, 2024. 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 determined 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 2023 annual benchmark revisions.

Industry employment data is not seasonally adjusted.