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Washington Metro’s Unemployment Rate Holds Steady at 3.6 Percent in May

Wednesday, June 29, 2016
(Washington, DC) - The District of Columbia Department of Employment Services (DOES) reported today that the preliminary May job estimates show an increase of 15,000 jobs for a total of 2,652,700 jobs in the Washington Metropolitan Division. The private sector increased by 11,100 jobs, while the public sector increased by 3,900 jobs. The Washington Metropolitan Division's May 2016 unemployment rate - which is not seasonally adjusted - was 3.6 percent, which is unchanged from the April rate of 3.6 percent. The Washington Metropolitan Division unemployment rate was 4.6 percent in May 2015, but has since decreased by 1.0 percent to the current 3.6 percent, a key indicator of the health of the Washington area economy. 
 
Over-the-Month Area Civilian Labor Force, Employment and Unemployment Data
 
The total civilian labor force in the Washington Metropolitan Division for May 2016 was 2,612,200, of which 2,517,800 were employed and 94,400 were unemployed.  The unemployment rate was 3.6 percent.  The total civilian labor force in the Suburban Ring of the Communities surrounding the District of Columbia was 2,890,000, of which 2,793,500 were employed and 96,500 were unemployed.  The unemployment rate for this area was 3.3 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 3,283,200, of which 3,166,300 were employed and 116,900 were unemployed.  The unemployment rate for this area was 3.6 percent.  For the month, the unemployment rates for the Washington Metropolitan Division and the Suburban Ring was unchanged, while the unemployment rate for the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area increased by 0.1 percentage point.
 
Over-the-Year Area Civilian Labor Force, Employment and Unemployment Data
 
The Washington Metropolitan Division’s civilian labor force decreased over the year by 6,900, while the number of employed increased by 19,900, and the number of unemployed decreased by 26,900. The civilian labor force for the Suburban Ring decreased over the year by 22,600, while the number of employed increased by 5,500, and the number of unemployed decreased by 28,000.  Meanwhile, the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area’s civilian labor force decreased by 13,600, while the number of employed increased by 19,400 and the number of unemployed decreased by 33,000.  For the year, the unemployment rates for the Washington Metropolitan Division and the Suburban Ring decreased by 1.0 percent each, while the unemployment rate for the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area decreased by 0.9 percentage points.
 
Metropolitan Division’s Job Growth
 
Total wage and salary employment in the Washington Metropolitan Division increased over the month by 15,000 jobs. The private sector increased by 11,100 jobs, and the public sector increased by 3,900 jobs over the month.  Five private sectors along with the federal, state and local government had over-the-month job gain. Job gains were registered in other services which gained (500 jobs); trade, transportation, and utilities gained (4,200 jobs); manufacturing gained (800 jobs); leisure and hospitality gained (4,700 jobs); and professional and business services gained (4,700 jobs). Four private sectors had over-the-month job losses. Job losses were registered in educational and health services which lost (1,300 jobs); financial activities lost (600 jobs); information lost (1,300 jobs); and mining, logging and construction lost (600 jobs). Government overall  lost (3,900 jobs) over the month. State government gained (200 jobs), while the federal government increased by (1,100 jobs), and the local government increased by (2,600 jobs). 
 
During the last 12 months, employment in the Washington Metropolitan Division increased by 55,800 jobs. The private sector added 48,200 jobs, while the public sector gained 7,600 jobs. Professional and business services reported the greatest year-over growth, up 17,600 jobs. Seven other private sector industries along with the federal, state and local government posted year-over job gains: Educational and health services gained (6,300 jobs); mining, logging and construction gained (4,700 jobs); other services gained (2,100 jobs); leisure and hospitality gained (8,800 jobs); financial activities gained (300 jobs); trade, transportation and utilities gained (11,900 jobs); and manufacturing gained (100 jobs). Information recorded the greatest year-over downturn, down 3,600 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 2015 annual benchmark revisions.