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Washington Metro’s Unemployment Rate Drops to 3.8 Percent in March

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

(Washington, DC) - The District of Columbia Department of Employment Services (DOES) reported today that the preliminary March job estimates show an increase of 4,100 jobs for a total of 2,647,700 jobs in the Washington Metropolitan Division. The private sector increased by 1,400 jobs, while the public sector gained 2,700 jobs. The Washington Metropolitan Division's not seasonally adjusted March 2017 unemployment rate was 3.8 percent, which is down 0.2 percentage points from the February rate of 4.0 percent. The Washington Metropolitan Division unemployment rate was 4.0 percent in March 2016, but has since decreased by 0.2 percentage points to the current 3.8 percent.

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

The total civilian labor force in the Washington Metropolitan Division for March 2017 was 2,679,600, of which 2,578,300 were employed and 101,300 were unemployed. The unemployment rate was 3.8 percent. The total civilian labor force in the Suburban Ring of the Communities surrounding the District of Columbia was 2,972,900, of which 2,871,100 were employed and 101,800 were unemployed. The unemployment rate for this area was 3.4 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 3,369,800, of which 3,245,400 were employed and 124,400 were unemployed. The unemployment rate for this area was 3.7 percent. For the month, the unemployment rates for the Washington Metropolitan Division, the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Suburban Ring declined by 0.2 percentage points 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 58,500, while the number of employed increased by 61,200, and the number of unemployed decreased by 2,700. The civilian labor force for the Suburban Ring increased over the year by 65,200, while the number of employed increased by 67,000, and the number of unemployed decreased by 1,800. Meanwhile, the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area’s civilian labor force increased by 70,800, while the number of employed increased by 73,500 and the number of unemployed decreased by 2,700. For the year, the unemployment rates for the Washington Metropolitan Division, the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Suburban ring decreased by 0.2 percentage points each.

Metropolitan Division’s Job Growth

Total wage and salary employment in the Washington Metropolitan Division increased over the month by 4,100 jobs. The private sector increased by 1,400 jobs, while the public sector increased by 2,700 jobs over-the-month. Four private sectors, along with the state and local government had over-the-month job gains. Job gains were registered in leisure and hospitality which gained (3,000 jobs); manufacturing gained (400 jobs); professional and business services gained (1,600 jobs); and trade, transportation, and utilities gained (1,300 jobs). Five private sectors along with the federal government had over-the-month job losses. Job losses was registered in mining, logging and construction which lost (1,400 jobs); information lost (700 jobs); other services lost (1,100 jobs); financial activities lost (700 jobs) and educational and health services lost (1,000 jobs) . Government overall gained (2,700 jobs) over the month. State government gained (1,400 jobs), while the federal government decreased by (400 jobs), and the local government increased by (1,700 jobs).

During the last 12 months, employment in the Washington Metropolitan Division increased by 41,400 jobs. The private sector added 37,400 jobs, while the public sector gained 4,000 jobs. Professional and business services reported the greatest year-over growth, up 16,400 jobs. Four other private sector industries along with the federal and local government posted year-over job gains: Educational and health services gained (7,000 jobs); other services gained (700 jobs); leisure and hospitality gained (13,600 jobs); and trade, transportation and utilities gained (5,300 jobs). Information recorded the greatest year-over downturn, down 2,700 jobs. Three other private sectors along with the local government had year-over losses: Mining, logging and construction lost (2,100 jobs); financial activities lost (400 jobs); and manufacturing lost (400 jobs); meanwhile, the state government lost (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 2016 annual benchmark revisions.

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