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Washington Metro’s Unemployment Rate at 6.1 percent

Friday, March 19, 2021

(Washington, DC) - The District of Columbia’s Department of Employment Services (DOES) reported today that the preliminary January job estimates show a decrease of 36,300 jobs for a total of 2,565,200 jobs in the Washington Metropolitan Division. The private sector decreased by 30,700 jobs, while the public sector decreased by 5,600 jobs. The Washington Metropolitan Division's not seasonally adjusted January 2021 unemployment rate was 6.1 percent, which is a decrease of 0.4 percentage points from the revised December 2020 rate of 6.5 percent.  The Washington Metropolitan Division’s unemployment rate was 3.0 percent in January 2020, which was 3.1 percentage points lower than the current unemployment rate of 6.1 percent.

Over-the-Month Area Civilian Labor Force, Employment and Unemployment Data
    
The total civilian labor force in the Washington Metropolitan Division for January 2021 was 2,648,100, of which 2,487,800 were employed and 160,300 were unemployed.  The unemployment rate was 6.1 percent.  The total civilian labor force in the Suburban Ring of the Communities surrounding the District of Columbia was 2,896,400, of which 2,730,900 were employed and 165,400 were unemployed.  The unemployment rate for this area was 5.7 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 3,303,500, of which 3,105,800 were employed and 197,700 were unemployed.  The unemployment rate for this area was 6.0 percent.  For the month, the unemployment rates for the Washington Metropolitan Division and the Suburban Ring declined by 0.4 percentage points, while the unemployment rate for the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area declined 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 decreased over the year by 149,900, while the number of employed decreased by 225,800, and the number of unemployed increased by 75,900.  The civilian labor force for the Suburban Ring decreased over the year by 189,100, while the number of employed decreased by 270,200, and the number of unemployed increased by 81,000.  Meanwhile, the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area’s civilian labor force decreased by 203,800, while the number of employed increased by 296,100 and the number of unemployed increased by 92,300.  For the year, the unemployment rate for the Washington Metropolitan Division increased by 3.1 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 36,300 jobs. The private sector decreased by 30,700 jobs, while the public sector decreased by 5,600 jobs over-the-month. Seven private sectors had over-the-month job loss. Job decreases were registered in manufacturing (-600 jobs); mining, logging and construction (-3,300 jobs); trade transportation & utilities (-12,000 jobs); financial activities (-800 jobs); professional and business services (-7,600 jobs) leisure and hospitality services (-5,900 jobs) and other services (-1,600 jobs).  Job increases were registered information services (500 jobs) and educational and health services (600 jobs). Government overall decreased by 5,600 jobs over the month. The federal government decreased 2,400 jobs, state government decreased by 3,000 jobs and the local government decreased by 200 jobs.
During the past 12 months, employment in the Washington Metropolitan Division decreased by 172,400 jobs. The private sector decreased by 168,500 jobs, while the public sector decreased by 3,900 jobs. The private sector losses were registered in mining, logging and construction (1,300 jobs); manufacturing (-1,300 jobs); trade, transportation and utilities (-17,500 jobs); information (-2,500 jobs); financial activities (-5,900 jobs); professional and business services (-18,000 jobs); educational and health services (-18,700 jobs); leisure and hospitality services (-85,300 jobs) and other services (-18,000 jobs). There were no private sector increases.  Federal government shows an increase of 5,300 jobs, while State government increased 1,900 jobs and the local government decreased 11,100 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.
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