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Washington Metro’s Unemployment Rate Reflects Improving Economy, Drops to 4.2 Percent

Wednesday, December 30, 2015
Washington, DC – The District of Columbia Department of Employment Services (DOES) reported the preliminary November job estimates, which show an unemployment rate of 4.2 percent and an increase of 7,600 jobs for a total of 2,623,000 jobs in the Washington Metropolitan Division. The private sector added 4,100 jobs, while the public sector gained 5,100 jobs. The Washington Metropolitan Division's not seasonally adjusted November 2015 unemployment rate was 4.2 percent, a 0.1 percentage point lower than the October rate of 4.3 percent. The year began with the Washington Metropolitan Division unemployment rate at 4.7 percent but has since decreased by 0.5 percentage points to the current 4.2 percent, a clear step in the right direction for 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 November 2015 was 2,616,800, of which 2,507,900 were employed and 108,900 were unemployed.  These increases positively affected the metro’s unemployment rate reduction to 4.2 percent.  The total civilian labor force in the Suburban Ring of the communities surrounding the District of Columbia was 2,909,300, of which 2,799,400 were employed and 109,900 were unemployed.  The unemployment rate for this area was 3.8 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 3,300,300, of which 3,164,100 were employed and 136,200 were unemployed. The unemployment rate for this area was 4.1 percent.  For the month, the unemployment rate for the Washington Metropolitan Division decreased by 0.1 percentage point and the unemployment rates for the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Suburban Ring decreased 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 20,200, while the number of employed increased by 33,600, and the number of unemployed decreased by 13,500. The civilian labor force for the Suburban Ring increased over the year by 30,000, while the number of employed increased by 41,400, and the number of unemployed decreased by 11,300.  Meanwhile, the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area’s civilian labor force increased by 36,800, while the number of employed increased by 51,200 and the number of unemployed decreased by 14,300.  For the year, the unemployment rate for the Washington Metropolitan Division and the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area decreased by 0.5 percentage points each and the unemployment rate for the Suburban ring decreased by 0.4 percentage points.
 
Metropolitan Division’s Job Growth
 
Total wage and salary employment in the Washington Metropolitan Division increased over the month by 7,600 jobs. The private sector increased by 4,100 jobs, and the public sector increased by 3,500 jobs over the month.  Seven private sectors along with the federal, state and local government had over-the-month job gains. Job gains were registered in professional and business services, which gained (100 jobs); other services gained (700 jobs); educational and health services gained (1,600 jobs); trade, transportation, and utilities gained (4,800 jobs); information gained (700 jobs); manufacturing gained (300 jobs); and mining, logging and construction gained (500 jobs).  Two private sectors had over-the-month job losses. Job loss was registered in financial activities which lost (1,200 jobs); and leisure and hospitality lost (3,400 jobs). Government overall  gained (3,500 jobs) over the month. State government gained (1,200 jobs), while the federal government increased  by (500 jobs), and the local government increased by (1,800 jobs). 
 
During the last 12 months, employment in the Washington Metropolitan Division increased by 43,400 jobs. The private sector added 38,300 jobs, while the public sector gained 5,100 jobs. Professional and business services reported the greatest year-over growth, up 26,000 jobs. Six other private sector industries along with the state and local government posted year-over job gains: Educational and health services gained (6,300 jobs); mining, logging and construction gained (1,800 jobs); trade, transportation and utilities gained (600 jobs); other services gained (2,500 jobs); leisure and hospitality gained (1,800 jobs); and financial activities gained (200 jobs). Manufacturing recorded the greatest year-over downturn, down 800 jobs. One other private sector industry along with the federal government posted a year-over job loss: information down (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 2014 annual benchmark revisions.
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