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Washington Metro’s Unemployment Rate at 3.2 percent

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

(Washington, DC) - The District of Columbia Department of Employment Services (DOES) reported today that the preliminary August job estimates show a decrease of 23,500 jobs for a total of 2,735,500 jobs in the Washington Metropolitan Division. The private sector decreased by 2,700 jobs, while the public sector decreased by 20,800 jobs. The Washington Metropolitan Division's not seasonally adjusted August 2019 unemployment rate was 3.2 percent, which is down 0.1 percentage point from the July rate of 3.3 percent.  The Washington Metropolitan Division’s unemployment rate was 3.5 percent in August 2018, which is down 0.3 percentage points from the current unemployment rate of 3.2 percent

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

The total civilian labor force in the Washington Metropolitan Division for August 2019 was 2,765,600, of which 2,677,500 were employed and 88,100 were unemployed.  The unemployment rate was 3.2 percent.  The total civilian labor force in the Suburban Ring of the Communities surrounding the District of Columbia was 3,062,200, of which 2,974,800 were employed and 87,500 were unemployed.  The unemployment rate for this area was 2.9 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 3,469,000, of which 3,359,400 were employed and 109,600 were unemployed.  The unemployment rate for this area was 3.2 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 each.

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

The Washington Metropolitan Division’s civilian labor force increased over the year by 69,300, while the number of employed increased by 74,600, and the number of unemployed decreased by 5,300.  The civilian labor force for the Suburban Ring increased over the year by 80,200, while the number of employed increased by 84,100, and the number of unemployed decreased by 3,800.  Meanwhile, the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area’s civilian labor force increased by 85,400, while the number of employed increased by 90,300 and the number of unemployed decreased by 4,900.  For the year, the unemployment rate for the Washington Metropolitan Division declined by 0.3 percentage points, while the unemployment rates for the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Suburban Ring declined by 0.2 percentage points each.

Metropolitan Division’s Job Growth

Total wage and salary employment in the Washington Metropolitan Division decreased over the month by 23,500 jobs. The private sector decreased by 2,700 jobs, while the public sector decreased by 20,800 jobs over-the-month.  Four private sectors had over-the-month job gains. Job gains were registered in: mining, logging and construction services increased by (1,900 jobs); financial activities increased by (800 jobs); educational and health services increased by (1,100 jobs) and leisure and hospitality increased by (1,000 jobs). Job losses were registered in: manufacturing decreased by (900 jobs); trade, transportation and utilities decreased by (2,100 jobs); information decreased by (900 jobs); professional and business services decreased by (2,900 jobs) and other services decreased by (700 jobs). The government overall decreased by (20,800 jobs) over the month. The federal government decreased by (800 jobs); state government decreased by (17,200 jobs) and the local government decreased by (2,800 jobs). 

During the last 12 months, employment in the Washington Metropolitan Division increased by 35,000 jobs. The private sector increased by 31,800 jobs, while the public sector increased by 3,200 jobs. The private sector gains over the year were: mining, logging and construction gained (4,100 jobs); professional and business services gained (8,500 jobs); educational and health services gained (7,900 jobs); leisure and hospitality services gained (15,500 jobs) and other services gained (3,200 jobs).  The private sector losses were: manufacturing loss (800 jobs); trade, transportation and utilities loss (3,900 jobs); information loss (1,300 jobs) and financial activities loss (1,400 jobs). The Federal government gained (1,300 jobs), while the State government gained (700 jobs) and the local government gained (1,200 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 2018 annual benchmark revisions.

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