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Washington DC’s Unemployment Rate Holds at 5.7 Percent in February, Number of Employed Residents Continues to Increase

Friday, March 24, 2017

(Washington, DC) – Today, the Bowser Administration reported that the seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate for February was 5.7 percent – unchanged from the reported January unemployment rate, while the number of employed DC residents increased from 373,200 in January 2017 to 374,100 in February 2017.

“My Administration is committed to inclusive prosperity, which means more jobs and economic opportunity for residents in all eight wards,” said Mayor Bowser. “Our economic strategy prioritizes communities often left behind by focusing on ensuring that residents have the skills they need to participate in DC’s workforce.”

The preliminary February job estimates for Washington, DC show an increase of 2,600 jobs, for a total of 782,200 jobs. The private sector increased by 4,400 jobs, while the public sector payrolls decreased by 1,800 jobs. All numbers are drawn from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics through its monthly survey of Washington, DC’s employers.

Employment Overview

  • Trade, Transportation, and Utilities sectors increased by 100 jobs, after having a decrease of 1,000 jobs in January. With employment at 31,800, jobs are down by 500 or -1.5 percent from a year ago.
  • Educational and Health Services sector increased by 1,600 jobs, after a decrease of 2,800 jobs in the prior month. With employment sector totals at 136,600, jobs are up by 400 or 0.3 percent from a year ago.
  • Information sector increased by 200 jobs, after having a decrease of 200 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 16,900, jobs are down by 200 or -1.2 percent from one year ago.
  • Financial Activities sector increased by 100 jobs, after a decrease of 500 jobs the prior month. With employment at 29,400, jobs are down by 100 or -0.3 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 was no change in jobs from one year ago.
  • Professional and Business Services sector increased by 1,000 jobs, after a decrease of 2,100 jobs in January. With employment at 167,300, jobs are up by 4,000 or 2.4 percent from a year ago.
  • Construction sector increased by 100 jobs, after having no change in jobs in January. With employment at 14,400, jobs are down by 1,100 or -7.1 percent over the year.
  • Other Services sector increased by 300 jobs, after having a decrease of 1,000 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 70,700, jobs are down by 700 or -1.0 percent from a year ago.
  • Leisure and Hospitality sector increased by 1,000 jobs, after a decrease of 1,800 jobs in January. With employment at 75,900, jobs are up by 3,800 or 5.3 percent over the year.

Labor Force Overview

  • The number of employed DC residents increased by 900 over the month to 374,100. The civilian labor force increased by 1,200 to 396,800.
  • One year ago, total employment was 367,300 and the civilian labor force was 391,800. The number of unemployed was 24,400, and the unemployment rate was 6.2 percent.

Additionally, based on more complete reporting from employers, previously released January estimates were revised downward to show an over-the-month (December 2016 - January 2017) total non-farm employment decrease of 9,300 jobs.

The February 2017 final and March 2017 preliminary unemployment rate and survey of jobs data for the District will be released on Friday, April 21, 2017. Historical jobs and labor force estimates for the District of Columbia and detailed labor market information is available at: does.dc.gov/page/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 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.​