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Washington Metro’s Unemployment Rate at 5.6 percent

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

(Washington, DC) – The District of Columbia’s Department of Employment Services (DOES) reported today that the preliminary December job estimates show a decrease of 7,100 jobs for a total of 2,631,600 jobs in the Washington Metropolitan Division. The private sector increased by 2,100 jobs, while the public sector payroll decreased by 9,200 jobs. The Washington Metropolitan Division's not seasonally adjusted December 2020 unemployment rate was 5.6 percent, which is a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the revised November 2020 rate of 5.7 percent.  The Washington Metropolitan Division’s unemployment rate was 2.7 percent in December 2019, which was 2.9 percentage points lower than the current unemployment rate of 5.6 percent.

Over-the-Month Area Civilian Labor Force, Employment and Unemployment Data
    
The total civilian labor force in the Washington Metropolitan Division for December 2020 was 2,686,700, of which 2,537,200 were employed and 149,500 were unemployed.  The unemployment rate was 5.6 percent.  The total civilian labor force in the Suburban Ring of the Communities surrounding the District of Columbia was 2,949,600, of which 2,793,900 were employed and 155,600 were unemployed.  The unemployment rate for this area was 5.3 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 3,362,900, of which 3,175,700 were employed and 187,100 were unemployed.  The unemployment rate for this area was 5.6 percent.  For the month, the unemployment rate for the Washington Metropolitan Division declined by 0.1 percentage point,  the unemployment rate for the Suburban Ring declined by 0.3 percentage points, while the unemployment rate for the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area declined by 0.2 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 decreased over the year by 92,900, while the number of employed decreased by 168,200, and the number of unemployed increased by 75,300.  The civilian labor force for the Suburban Ring decreased over the year by 118,100, while the number of employed decreased by 202,900, and the number of unemployed increased by 84,700.  Meanwhile, the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area’s civilian labor force decreased by 116,000, while the number of employed decreased by 211,900 and the number of unemployed increased by 95,800.  For the year, the unemployment rate for the Washington Metropolitan Division increased by 2.9 percentage points, while the unemployment rates for the Suburban Ring and the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area increased by 3.0 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 7,100 jobs. The private sector increased by 2,100 jobs, while the public sector decreased by 9,200 jobs over-the-month. Five private sectors had over-the-month job loss. Job decreases were registered in mining, logging and construction (-400 jobs); information services (-600 jobs); financial activities (-400 jobs); leisure and hospitality services (-5000 jobs) and other services (-300 jobs).  Job increases were registered in manufacturing (400 jobs); trade transportation & utilities (5,800 jobs); professional and business services (1,200 jobs) and educational and health services (1,400 jobs). Government overall decreased by 9,200 jobs over the month. The federal government decreased 400 jobs, state government decreased by 700 jobs and the local government decreased by 8,100 jobs.

During the past 12 months, employment in the Washington Metropolitan Division decreased by 157,100 jobs. The private sector decreased by 138,500 jobs, while the public sector decreased by 18,600 jobs. The private sector losses were registered in manufacturing (-3,100 jobs); trade, transportation and utilities (-12,000 jobs); information (-2,600 jobs); financial activities (-4,700 jobs); professional and business services (-10,600 jobs); educational and health services (-26,800 jobs); leisure and hospitality services (-76,500 jobs) and other services (-8,000 jobs). Private sector increased in mining, logging and construction (5,800 jobs).  The Federal government shows an increase of 7,400 jobs, while State government decreased 5,400 jobs and the local government decreased 20,600 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.