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Washington Metro’s Unemployment at 6.9 Percent in August

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

(Washington, DC) - The District of Columbia’s Department of Employment Services (DOES) reported today that the preliminary August job estimates show an increase of 15,400 jobs for a total of 2,571,700 jobs in the Washington Metropolitan Division. The private sector increased by 3,500 jobs, while the public sector payroll increased by 11,900 jobs. The Washington Metropolitan Division's not seasonally adjusted August 2020 unemployment rate was 6.9 percent, which is a decrease of 1.2 percentage points from the revised July 2020 rate of 8.1 percent.  The Washington Metropolitan Division’s unemployment rate was 3.3 percent in August 2019, which was 3.6 percentage points lower than the current unemployment rate of 6.9 percent.

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

The total civilian labor force in the Washington Metropolitan Division for August 2020 was 2,724,000, of which 2,535,900 were employed and 188,100 were unemployed.  The unemployment rate was 6.9 percent.  The total civilian labor force in the Suburban Ring of the Communities surrounding the District of Columbia was 3,037,100, of which 2,836,300 were employed and 200,800 were unemployed.  The unemployment rate for this area was 6.6 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 3,431,400, of which 3,196,300 were employed and 235,100 were unemployed.  The unemployment rate for this area was 6.9 percent.  For the month, the unemployment rates for the Washington Metropolitan Division and the Suburban Ring declined by 1.2 percentage points, while the unemployment rate for the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area decreased by 1.0 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 decreased over the year by 44,800, while the number of employed decreased by 142,500, and the number of unemployed increased by 97,800.  The civilian labor force for the Suburban Ring decreased over the year by 29,200, while the number of employed decreased by 141,200, and the number of unemployed increased by 112,000.  Meanwhile, the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area’s civilian labor force decreased by 42,700, while the number of employed decreased by 166,600 and the number of unemployed increased by 123,900.  For the year, the unemployment rate for the Washington Metropolitan Division increased by 3.6 percentage points, while the unemployment rates for the Suburban Ring and the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area increased by 3.7 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 15,400 jobs. The private sector increased by 3,500 jobs, while the public sector decreased by 11,900 jobs over-the-month. Three private sectors had over-the-month job loss. Job decreases were registered in: manufacturing decreased (100 jobs); mining, logging and construction decreased (200 jobs) and information services decreased (200 jobs). Job increases were registered in trade transportation & utilities increased (700 jobs) financial activities increased (100 jobs); professional and business services increased (1,400 jobs); educational and health services increased (500 jobs); leisure and hospitality services increased (1,300 jobs).   Government overall increased by 11,900 jobs over the month. The federal government increased by 3,900 jobs, state government decreased by 7,600 jobs and the local government increased by 15,600 jobs.

During the past 12 months, employment in the Washington Metropolitan Division decreased by 169,100 jobs. The private sector decreased by 167,800 jobs, while the public sector decreased by 1,300 jobs. The private sector losses were registered in: manufacturing (-2,500 jobs); mining, logging and construction (-500 jobs); trade, transportation and utilities (-17,700 jobs); information (-1,700 jobs); financial activities (-4,200 jobs); professional and business services (-13,000 jobs); educational and health services (-29,700 jobs); leisure and hospitality services (-94,100 jobs) and other services (-4,400 jobs). The Federal government shows an increase of 10,500 jobs, while State government decreased 2,100 jobs and the local government decreased 9,700 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.
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