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Washington Metro’s Unemployment Rate Improves to 3.6 Percent in April

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

(Washington, DC) - The District of Columbia Department of Employment Services (DOES) reported today that the preliminary April job estimates show an increase of 14,200 jobs for a total of 2,664,300 jobs in the Washington Metropolitan Division. The private sector increased by 15,200 jobs, while the public sector decreased 1,000 jobs. The Washington Metropolitan Division's not seasonally adjusted April 2017 unemployment rate was 3.6 percent, which is down 0.2 percentage points from the March rate of 3.8 percent. The Washington Metropolitan Division unemployment rate was 3.6 percent in April 2016, which is unchanged from the current 3.6 percent.

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

The total civilian labor force in the Washington Metropolitan Division for April 2017 was 2,682,600, of which 2,586,900 were employed and 95,700 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 2,972,300, of which 2,878,000 were employed and 94,400 were unemployed. The unemployment rate for this area was 3.2 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 3,370,400, of which 3,254,400 were employed and 116,000 were unemployed. The unemployment rate for this area was 3.4 percent. For the month, the unemployment rates for the Washington Metropolitan Division, the Suburban Ring declined by 0.2 percentage points each and the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area declined 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 67,200, while the number of employed increased by 64,400, and the number of unemployed increased by 2,800. The civilian labor force for the Suburban Ring increased over the year by 73,200, while the number of employed increased by 71,700, and the number of unemployed increased by 1,500. Meanwhile, the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area’s civilian labor force increased by 80,100, while the number of employed increased by 78,000 and the number of unemployed increased by 2,000. For the year, the unemployment rates for the Washington Metropolitan Division and the Suburban Ring was unchanged from the previous month while the Metropolitan Statistical Area decreased by 0.1 percentage point.

Metropolitan Division’s Job Growth

Total wage and salary employment in the Washington Metropolitan Division increased over the month by 14,200 jobs. The private sector increased by 15,200 jobs, while the public sector decreased by 1,000 jobs over-the-month. Eight private sectors, along with the federal government had over-the-month job gains. Job gains were registered in leisure and hospitality which gained (5,500 jobs); manufacturing gained (700 jobs); professional and business services gained (300 jobs); trade, transportation, and utilities gained (1,400 jobs); mining, logging and construction gained (4,600 jobs); other services gained (600 jobs); financial activities gained (300 jobs) and educational and health services gained (2,000 jobs). One private sector along with the state government had over-the-month job losses. Job losses was registered in information which lost (200 jobs). Government overall lost (1,000 jobs) over the month. State government lost (1,200 jobs), while the federal government increased by (200 jobs), and the local government had no over-the-month job change.  

During the last 12 months, employment in the Washington Metropolitan Division increased by 28,400 jobs. The private sector added 25,000 jobs, while the public sector gained 3,400 jobs. Leisure and hospitality reported the greatest year-over growth, up 10,900 jobs. Four other private sector industries along with the local government posted year-over job gains: Educational and health services gained (5,300 jobs); professional and business services gained (8,300 jobs); trade, transportation and utilities gained (4,300 jobs); and mining, logging and construction gained (500 jobs).  Information recorded the greatest year-over downturn, down 3,100 jobs. Three other private sectors along with the federal and state government had year-over losses: Financial activities lost (900 jobs); manufacturing lost (200 jobs); and other services lost (100 jobs). Meanwhile, the state government lost (200 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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