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Washington Metro’s Unemployment Rate at 5.6 Percent

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

(Washington, DC) – Today, the District of Columbia Department of Employment Services (DOES) reported that the preliminary March job estimates show an increase of 17,300 jobs for a total of 2,587,200 jobs in the Washington Metropolitan Division. The private sector increased by 12,700 jobs, while the public sector increased by 4,600 jobs. The Washington Metropolitan Division's not seasonally adjusted March 2021 unemployment rate was 5.6 percent, which is a decrease of 0.2 percentage points from the revised February 2021 rate of 5.8 percent.  The Washington Metropolitan Division’s unemployment rate was 3.2 percent in March 2020, which was 2.4 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 March 2021 was 2,666,800, of which 2,518,200 were employed and 148,600 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 2,928,800, of which 2,771,400 were employed and 157,400 were unemployed.  The unemployment rate for this area was 5.4 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 3,332,500, of which 3,147,000 were employed and 185,500 were unemployed.  The unemployment rate for this area was 5.6 percent.  For the month, the unemployment rates for the Washington Metropolitan Division and the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area declined by 0.2 percentage points while the Suburban Ring declined 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 decreased over the year by 136,100, while the number of employed decreased by 195,700, and the number of unemployed increased by 59,700.  The civilian labor force for the Suburban Ring decreased over the year by 159,300, while the number of employed decreased by 228,500, and the number of unemployed increased by 69,200.  Meanwhile, the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area’s civilian labor force decreased by 176,000, while the number of employed decreased by 250,400 and the number of unemployed increased by 74,400.  For the year, the unemployment rates for the Washington Metropolitan Division and the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area increased by 2.4 percentage points, while the unemployment rate for the Suburban Ring increased by 2.5 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 17,300 jobs. The private sector increased by 12,700 jobs, while the public sector increased by 4,600 jobs over-the-month. Three private sectors had over-the-month job loss. Job decreases were registered trade transportation & utilities (900 jobs); information services (-100 jobs) and financial activities (-400 jobs).  Job increases were registered manufacturing (200 jobs); in mining, logging and construction (2,100 jobs); professional and business services (3,900 jobs); educational and health services (400 jobs); leisure and hospitality services (7000 jobs) and other services (500 jobs).  Government overall increased by 4,600 jobs over the month. The federal government decreased 200 jobs, state government increased by 1,500 jobs and the local government increased by 3,300 jobs.  percentage points from a year ago.

During the past 12 months, employment in the Washington Metropolitan Division decreased by 156,200 jobs. The private sector decreased by 148,200 jobs, while the public sector decreased by 8,000 jobs. The private sector losses were registered in manufacturing (-100 jobs); mining, logging, and construction (-1,900 jobs); trade, transportation and utilities (-16,600 jobs); information (-3,700 jobs); financial activities (-6,300 jobs); professional and business services (-13,600 jobs); educational and health services (-16,200 jobs); leisure and hospitality services (-73,100 jobs) and other services (-16,700 jobs). The private sector decreased by 8,000 jobs.  Federal government shows an increase of 3,100 jobs, while State government decreased 1,400 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 2020 annual benchmark revisions.