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Washington Metro’s Unemployment Rate Improves to 3.9 percent in August

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

(Washington, DC)The District of Columbia Department of Employment Services (DOES) reported today that the preliminary August job estimates show an decrease of 29,300 jobs for a total of 2,686,500 jobs in the Washington Metropolitan Division. The private sector decreased by 3,500 jobs, while the public sector lost 25,800 jobs. The Washington Metropolitan Division's not seasonally adjusted August 2017 unemployment rate was 3.9 percent, which is down 0.1 percentage point from the July rate of 4.0 percent. The Washington Metropolitan Division unemployment rate was 4.1 percent in August 2016, which is down 0.2 percentage points from the current unemployment rate of 3.9 percent.

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

The total civilian labor force in the Washington Metropolitan Division for August 2017 was 2,701,000, of which 2,595,600 were employed and 105,500 were unemployed. The unemployment rate was 3.9 percent. The total civilian labor force in the Suburban Ring of the Communities surrounding the District of Columbia was 3,008,700, of which 2,907,400 were employed and 101,300 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 3,405,900, of which 3,278,400 were employed and 127,500 were unemployed. The unemployment rate for this area was 3.7 percent. For the month, the unemployment rates for the Washington Metropolitan Division and the Suburban Ring declined by 0.1 percentage point each and the unemployment rate for the Washington Statistical Area declined by 0.2 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 66,400, while the number of employed increased by 70,000, and the number of unemployed decreased by 3,500. The civilian labor force for the Suburban Ring increased over the year by 82,000, while the number of employed increased by 88,000, and the number of unemployed decreased by 6,000. Meanwhile, the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area’s civilian labor force increased by 87,900, while the number of employed increased by 92,700 and the number of unemployed decreased by 4,800. For the year, the unemployment rate for the Washington Metropolitan Division declined by 0.2 percentage points while unemployment rates for the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Suburban Ring decreased by 0.3 percentage points each.

Metropolitan Division’s Job Growth

Total wage and salary employment in the Washington Metropolitan Division decreased over the month by 29,300 jobs. The private sector decreased by 3,500 jobs, while the public sector decreased by 25,800 jobs over-the-month. Three private sectors, had over-the-month job gains. Job gains were registered in mining, logging and construction which gained (700 jobs); manufacturing gained (200 jobs); and educational and health services gained (800 jobs). Six private sectors along with the federal, state and local government had over-the-month job losses. Job losses was registered in leisure and hospitality which lost (1,800 jobs); professional and business services lost (2,700 jobs); trade, transportation, and utilities lost (100 jobs); information lost (200 jobs); other services lost (300 jobs); and financial activities lost (100 jobs). Government overall declined by (25,800 jobs) over the month. State government lost (21,600 jobs), while the federal government decreased by (2,200 jobs), and the local government decreased by (2,000 jobs).

During the last 12 months, employment in the Washington Metropolitan Division increased by 53,800 jobs. The private sector added 53,200 jobs, while the public sector gained 600 jobs. Educational and health services reported the greatest year-over growth, up 17,200 jobs. Seven other private sector industries along with the local government posted year-over job gains: Professional and business services gained (14,100 jobs); other services gained (3,000 jobs); leisure and hospitality gained (11,600 jobs); trade, transportation and utilities gained (7,400 jobs); mining, logging and construction gained (2,700 jobs); financial activities gained (200 jobs); and manufacturing gained (300 jobs). Information recorded the greatest year-over downturn, down 3,300 jobs. Meanwhile, the state government lost (1,400 jobs); federal government lost (1,200 jobs) and local government gained (3,200 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.