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Washington Metro’s Unemployment Remains Steady at 3.5 Percent for February

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

(Washington, DC) - The District of Columbia Department of Employment Services (DOES) reported today that the preliminary February job estimates show an increase of 11,000 jobs for a total of 2,700,700 jobs in the Washington Metropolitan Division. The private sector decreased by 1,400 jobs, while the public sector increased by 12,400 jobs. The Washington Metropolitan Division's not seasonally adjusted February 2019 unemployment rate was 3.5 percent, which is down 0.2 percentage points from the January rate of 3.7 percentThe Washington Metropolitan Division’s unemployment rate was 3.7 percent in February 2018, but has since decreased by 0.2 percentage points to 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 February 2019 was 2,725,000, of which 2,629,100 were employed and 95,900 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 3,003,900, of which 2,908,800 were employed and 95,100 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 3,411,800, of which 3,292,100 were employed and 119,700 were unemployed. The unemployment rate for this area was 3.5 percent. For the month, the unemployment rates for the Washington Metropolitan Division, the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Suburban Ring deceased by 0.2 percentage points 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 21,200, while the number of employed increased by 24,800, and the number of unemployed decreased by 3,600.  The civilian labor force for the Suburban Ring increased over the year by 21,200, while the number of employed increased by 26,500, and the number of unemployed decreased by 5,300. Meanwhile, the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area’s civilian labor force increased by 22,400, while the number of employed increased by 27,200 and the number of unemployed decreased by 4,800. For the year, the unemployment rates for the Washington Metropolitan Division, the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area and Suburban Ring decreased by 0.2 percentage points from a year ago.

Metropolitan Division’s Job Growth

Total wage and salary employment in the Washington Metropolitan Division increased over the month by 11,000 jobs. The private sector decreased by 1,400 jobs, while the public sector increased by 12,400 jobs over-the-month. Four private sectors had over-the-month job gains. Job gains were registered in: professional and business services which increased by (300 jobs); educational and health services increased by (1,700 jobs); leisure and hospitality increased by (4,200 jobs) and other services increased by (500 jobs). Manufacturing remained the same as the prior month.  Job decreases were registered in: mining, logging and construction decreased by (300 jobs); trade, transportation and utilities decreased by (5,600 jobs); information decreased by (400 jobs); financial activities decreased by (1,800 jobs).   Government overall increased by (12,400 jobs) over the month. The federal government increased by (700 jobs), while state government increased by (9,200 jobs) and the local government increased by (2,500 jobs).

During the last 12 months, employment in the Washington Metropolitan Division increased by 21,400 jobs. The private sector increased by 19,000 jobs, while the public sector increased by 2,400 jobs. The private sector gains over the year were: professional and business services gained (10,700 jobs); education and health services gained (1,600 jobs); leisure and hospitality services gained (14,900 jobs) and other services gained (300 jobs).  The private sector losses were: manufacturing loss (1,000 jobs); mining, logging and construction loss (100 jobs); trade, transportation and utilities loss (4,300 jobs) financial activities loss (2,600 jobs) and information loss (500 jobs).  The Federal government remained the same. State government gained (1,500 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 2018 annual benchmark revisions.

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