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Washington Metro’s Unemployment at 3.0 Percent in February

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

The data in this report predates any impact from coronavirus (COVID-19).

(Washington, DC) - The District of Columbia Department of Employment Services (DOES) reported today that the preliminary February job estimates show an increase of 20,500 jobs for a total of 2,763,500 jobs in the Washington Metropolitan Division. The private sector increased by 10,600 jobs, while the public sector payrolls increased by 9,900 jobs. The Washington Metropolitan Division's not seasonally adjusted February 2020 unemployment rate was 3.0 percent, which is down 0.1 percentage point from the January 2020 rate of 3.1 percent. The Washington Metropolitan Division’s unemployment rate was 3.5 percent in February 2019, which is down 0.5 percentage points from the current unemployment rate of 3.0 percent.

Over-the-Month Area Civilian Labor Force, Employment and Unemployment Data

The total civilian labor force in the Washington Metropolitan Division for February 2020 was 2,812,600, of which 2,728,800 were employed and 83,800 were unemployed. The unemployment rate was 3.0 percent. The total civilian labor force in the Suburban Ring of the Communities surrounding the District of Columbia was 3,096,100, of which 3,013,200 were employed and 83,000 were unemployed. The unemployment rate for this area was 2.7 percent. In the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes the Washington Metropolitan Division and the Bethesda-Gaithersburg-Frederick, Maryland Metropolitan Division, the civilian labor force was 3,515,400, of which 3,410,800 were employed and 104,700 were unemployed. The unemployment rate for this area was 3.0 percent. For the month, the unemployment rates for the Washington Metropolitan Division, the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Suburban Ring decreased by 0.1 percentage point from the previous month’s rate.

Over-the-Year Area Civilian Labor Force, Employment and Unemployment Data

The Washington Metropolitan Division’s civilian labor force increased over the year by 73,400, while the number of employed increased by 84,700, and the number of unemployed decreased by 11,200. The civilian labor force for the Suburban Ring increased over the year by 69,400, while the number of employed increased by 80,300, and the number of unemployed decreased by 10,800. Meanwhile, the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area’s civilian labor force increased by 79,500, while the number of employed increased by 93,300 and the number of unemployed decreased by 13,600. For the year, the unemployment rate for the Washington Metropolitan Division declined by 0.5 percentage points while unemployment rates for the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area and Suburban Ring declined by 0.4 percentage points from a year ago.

Metropolitan Division’s Job Growth

Total wage and salary employment in the Washington Metropolitan Division increased over the month by 20,500 jobs. The private sector increased by 10,600 jobs, while the public sector increased by 9,900 jobs over-the-month. Six private sectors had over-the-month job gains. Job gains were registered in: manufacturing which increased (1,000 jobs); mining, logging and construction increased (1,500 jobs); information increased (900 jobs); educational and health services increased (3,200 jobs); professional and business services increased (5,500 jobs) and leisure and hospitality increased (2,800 jobs). Job decreases were registered in: trade transportation & utilities decreased (-2,300 jobs); financial activities decreased (-500 jobs); and other services decreased (-1,500 jobs). Government overall increased by 9,900 jobs over the month. The federal government decreased by 100 jobs, while state government increased by 7,700 jobs, and the local government increased by 2,300 jobs. 

During the last 12 months, employment in the Washington Metropolitan Division increased by 52,400 jobs. The private sector increased by 44,400 jobs, while the public sector increased by 8,000 jobs. The private sector gains over the year were: manufacturing gained (2,500 jobs); mining, logging and construction gained (2,900 jobs); trade, transportation and utilities gained (4,000 jobs); information gained (3,100 jobs); financial activities gained (2,400 jobs); professional and business services gained (18,600 jobs); leisure and hospitality services gained (8,300 jobs) and other services gained (2,800 jobs).  The private sector loss was educational and health services, which lost 200 jobs. The Federal government shows an increase of 2,500 jobs, while State government gained 2,100 jobs and the local government gained 3,400 jobs. 

Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area Explanations

Estimated Labor Force and Employment for the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Division includes: The District of Columbia, Virginia Cities jobs of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Fredericksburg, Manassas, Manassas Park and the Virginia Counties of Arlington, Clarke, Fairfax, Fauquier, Loudon, Prince William, Spotsylvania, Stafford, Warren, Rappahannock and Culpeper; the Maryland Counties of Calvert, Charles, and Prince Georges; and the West Virginia County of Jefferson.

The estimates for the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area will be the summation of the estimates for the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Division (contained in this release) and the Bethesda-Gaithersburg-Frederick, MD Metropolitan Division (to be released by the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation).

Data reflects the 2019 annual benchmark revisions.
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