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Washington Metro’s Unemployment at 3.1 Percent in January

Friday, March 20, 2020

This 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 January job estimates show a decrease of 6,200 jobs for a total of 2,777,200 jobs in the Washington Metropolitan Division. The private sector decreased by 2,200 jobs, while the public sector payrolls decreased by 4,000 jobs. The Washington Metropolitan Division's not seasonally adjusted January 2020 unemployment rate was 3.1 percent, which is up 0.4 percentage point from the December 2019 rate of 2.7 percent.  The Washington Metropolitan Division’s unemployment rate was 3.8 percent in January 2019, which is down 0.7 percentage points from the current unemployment rate of 3.1 percent.

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

The total civilian labor force in the Washington Metropolitan Division for January 2020 was 2,788,500, of which 2,701,300 were employed and 87,200 were unemployed.  The unemployment rate was 3.1 percent.  The total civilian labor force in the Suburban Ring of the Communities surrounding the District of Columbia was 3,075,000, of which 2,988,400 were employed and 86,600 were unemployed.  The unemployment rate for this area was 2.8 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 3,489,300, of which 3,381,600 were employed and 107,700 were unemployed.  The unemployment rate for this area was 3.1 percent.  For the month, the unemployment rate for the Washington Metropolitan Division was up 0.4 percentage points while the unemployment rate for the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Suburban Ring increased by 0.5 percentage points 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 61,800, while the number of employed increased by 79,500, and the number of unemployed decreased by 17,700.  The civilian labor force for the Suburban Ring increased over the year by 57,800, while the number of employed increased by 76,100, and the number of unemployed decreased by 18,300.  Meanwhile, the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area’s civilian labor force increased by 66,700, while the number of employed increased by 89,000 and the number of unemployed decreased by 22,300.  For the year, the unemployment rates for the Washington Metropolitan Division, the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area and Suburban Ring declined by 0.7 percentage points from a year ago.

Metropolitan Division’s Job Growth

Total wage and salary employment in the Washington Metropolitan Division decreased over the month by 6,200 jobs. The private sector decreased by 2,200 jobs, while the public sector decreased by 4,000 jobs over-the-month.  Four private sectors had over-the-month job gains. Job gains were registered in: manufacturing which increased by (100 jobs); trade, transportation and utilities increased (5,100 jobs); financial activities increased by (800 jobs) and other services increased (1,000 jobs).  Job decreases were registered in mining, logging and construction which decreased by (1,200 jobs); information decreased by (800 jobs); professional and business services decreased by (3,700 jobs); education and health services decreased by (2,400 jobs) and  leisure and hospitality decreased by (1,100 jobs). Government overall decreased by (4,000 jobs) over the month. The federal government decreased by (600 jobs), while state government decreased by (500 jobs), and the local government decreased by (2,900 jobs). 

During the last 12 months, employment in the Washington Metropolitan Division increased by 48,900 jobs. The private sector increased by 46,400 jobs, while the public sector increased by 2,500 jobs. The private sector gains over the year were: manufacturing gained (1,200 jobs); mining, logging and construction gained (1,000 jobs); trade, transportation and utilities gained (200 jobs); financial activities gained (2,400 jobs); professional and business services gained (17,000 jobs); education and health services gained (6,200 jobs); leisure and hospitality services gained (17,700 jobs) and other services gained (1,900 jobs). The private sector loss was information services, which lost (1,200 jobs).   The Federal government gained (300 jobs); while State government gained (600 jobs) and the Local government gained (1,600 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 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.