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Washington Metro’s Unemployment Rate Drops to 3.4 Percent in December

Thursday, February 1, 2018

(Washington, DC) - The District of Columbia Department of Employment Services (DOES) reported today that the preliminary December job estimates show an increase of 4,200 jobs for a total of 2,713,400 jobs in the Washington Metropolitan Division. The private sector increased by 4,600 jobs, while the public sector declined by 400 jobs. The Washington Metropolitan Division's not seasonally adjusted December 2017 unemployment rate was 3.4 percent, which is down 0.3 percentage point from the November rate of 3.7 percent. The Washington Metropolitan Division’s unemployment rate was 3.6 percent in December 2016, which was down 0.2 percentage points from the current unemployment rate of 3.4 percent.

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

The total civilian labor force in the Washington Metropolitan Division for December 2017 was 2,671,500, of which 2,580,400 were employed and 91,000 were unemployed. The unemployment rate was 3.4 percent. The total civilian labor force in the Suburban Ring of the Communities surrounding the District of Columbia was 2,964,300, of which 2,874,100 were employed and 90,200 were unemployed. The unemployment rate for this area was 3.0 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 3,364,900, of which 3,253,700 were employed and 111,200 were unemployed. The unemployment rate for this area was 3.3 percent. For the month, the unemployment rates for the Washington Metropolitan Division, the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Suburban Ring decreased by 0.3 percentage points.

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

The Washington Metropolitan Division’s civilian labor force increased over the year by 31,300, while the number of employed increased by 35,600, and the number of unemployed decreased by 4,400. The civilian labor force for the Suburban Ring increased over the year by 35,000, while the number of employed increased by 38,500, and the number of unemployed decreased by 3,500. Meanwhile, the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area’s civilian labor force increased by 42,800, while the number of employed increased by 46,800 and the number of unemployed decreased by 4,000. For the year, the unemployment rates for the Washington Metropolitan Division, the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Suburban Ring declined by 0.2 percentage points.

Metropolitan Division’s Job Growth

Total wage and salary employment in the Washington Metropolitan Division increased over the month by 4,200 jobs. The private sector increased by 4,600 jobs, while the public sector decreased by 400 jobs over-the-month. Seven private sectors, along with the state government had over-the-month job gains. Job gains were registered in leisure and hospitality which gained (700 jobs); manufacturing gained (100 jobs); financial activities gained (800 jobs); educational and health services gained (800 jobs); trade, transportation, and utilities gained (4,200 jobs); information gained (1,100 jobs); and manufacturing gained (100 jobs). Two private sectors along with the federal and local government had over-the-month job losses. Job losses was registered in professional and business services which lost (2,500 jobs); and mining, logging and construction lost (1,900 jobs). Government overall lost (400 jobs) over the month. State government gained (1,400 jobs), while the federal government decreased by (100 jobs), and the local government decreased by (1,700 jobs).

During the last 12 months, employment in the Washington Metropolitan Division increased by 45,500 jobs. The private sector added 49,500 jobs, while the public sector decreased by 4,000 jobs. Educational and health services reported the greatest year-over growth, up 14,600 jobs. Seven other private sectors industries along with the local government posted year-over job gains: Professional and business services gained (11,500 jobs); other services gained (4,800 jobs); leisure and hospitality gained (4,900 jobs); trade, transportation and utilities gained (5,700 jobs); information gained (700 jobs); mining, logging and construction gained (2,900 jobs); and financial activities gained (4,400 jobs). Manufacturing had no yearly job changes. There were no private sector over-the-year job losses. Meanwhile, the federal government lost (5,300 jobs); state government lost (1,400 jobs), while the local government gained (2,700 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 2016 annual benchmark revisions.