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Washington Metro’s Unemployment Rate Holds Steady at 3.5 Percent

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

(Washington, DC) - The District of Columbia Department of Employment Services (DOES) reported today that the preliminary August job estimates show a decrease of 31,500 jobs for a total of 2,721,000 jobs in the Washington Metropolitan Division. The private sector decreased by 8,200 jobs, while the public sector payrolls decreased by 23,300 jobs. The Washington Metropolitan Division's not seasonally adjusted August 2018 unemployment rate was 3.5 percent, which is unchanged from the July rate of 3.5 percent. The Washington Metropolitan Division’s unemployment rate was 4.0 percent in August 2017, which is down 0.5 percentage points from the current unemployment rate of 3.5 percent.

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

The total civilian labor force in the Washington Metropolitan Division for August 2018 was 2,708,200, of which 2,612,100 were employed and 96,100 were unemployed. The unemployment rate was 3.5 percent. The total civilian labor force in the Suburban Ring of the Communities surrounding the District of Columbia was 3,004,100, of which 2,910,300 were employed and 93,800 were unemployed. The unemployment rate for this area was 3.1 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 3,405,500, of which 3,287,100 were employed and 118,400 were unemployed. The unemployment rate for this area was 3.5 percent. For the month, the unemployment rates for the Washington Metropolitan Division and the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area was unchanged and the unemployment rate for the Suburban Ring was down 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 increased over the year by 6,600, while the number of employed increased by 18,100, and the number of unemployed decreased by 11,500. The civilian labor force for the Suburban Ring increased over the year by 11,700, while the number of employed increased by 22,900, and the number of unemployed decreased by 11,200. Meanwhile, the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area’s civilian labor force increased by 12,500, while the number of employed increased by 24,700 and the number of unemployed decreased by 12,200. For the year, the unemployment rates for the Washington Metropolitan Division declined by 0.5 percentage points, the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area declined by 0.3 percentage points and the Suburban Ring declined by 0.4 percentage points each from a year ago.

Metropolitan Division’s Job Growth

Total wage and salary employment in the Washington Metropolitan Division decreased over the month by 31,500 jobs. The private sector decreased by 8,200 jobs, while the public sector decreased by 23,300 jobs over-the-month. Two private sectors had over-the-month job gains. Job gains were registered in: trade, transportation & utilities which increased by (1,100 jobs); mining logging & construction increased by (700 jobs); Job decreases were registered in manufacturing which decreased by (1,000 jobs); information decreased by (1,100 jobs); financial activities decreased by (900 jobs), professional and business services decreased by (1,100 jobs); educational and health services decreased by (1,000 jobs); leisure and hospitality decreased by (1,300 jobs); other services decreased by (3,600 jobs); Government overall decreased by (23,300 jobs) over the month. The federal government decreased by (1,700 jobs), while state government decreased by (19,200 jobs), and the local government decreased by (2,400 jobs).

During the last 12 months, employment in the Washington Metropolitan Division increased by 47,300 jobs. The private sector increased by 49,100 jobs, while the public sector decreased by 1,800 jobs. The private sector gains over the year were: professional and business services gained (17,300 jobs); educational and health services remained the same at (10,600 jobs); leisure and hospitality services gained 7,700 jobs); trade, transportation and utilities gained (5,300 jobs); financial activities gained (3,000 jobs); other services gained (2,200 jobs); manufacturing gained (100 jobs) and mining, logging and construction, gained (3,300 jobs). The private sector shows a decrease over the year in the information sector by (400 jobs). The Federal government shows a decrease of (3,700 jobs); while State government gained (1,000 jobs) and the local government gained (900 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 2017 annual benchmark revisions.