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Washington Metro Economy Adds 16,200 Jobs in May, Unemployment Rate at 3.7 Percent

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

(Washington, DC) – The District of Columbia Department of Employment Services (DOES) reported today that the preliminary May job estimates show an increase of 16,200 jobs for a total of 2,680,800 jobs in the Washington Metropolitan Division. The private sector increased by 12,700 jobs, while the public sector gained 3,500 jobs. The Washington Metropolitan Division's not seasonally adjusted May 2017 unemployment rate was 3.7 percent, which is up 0.1 percentage point from the April rate of 3.6 percent. The Washington Metropolitan Division unemployment rate was 3.7 percent in May 2016, which is unchanged from the current 3.7 percent.

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

The total civilian labor force in the Washington Metropolitan Division for May 2017 was 2,696,300, of which 2,595,500 were employed and 100,700 were unemployed. The total civilian labor force in the Suburban Ring of the Communities surrounding the District of Columbia was 2,984,400, of which 2,883,200 were employed and 101,200 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 3,385,300, of which 3,262,100 were employed and 123,200 were unemployed. The unemployment rate for this area was 3.6 percent. For the month, the unemployment rate for the Washington Metropolitan Division increased by 0.1 percentage point, while the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Suburban Ring increased 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 71,200, while the number of employed increased by 66,600, and the number of unemployed increased by 4,600. The civilian labor force for the Suburban Ring increased over the year by 73,300, while the number of employed increased by 68,800, and the number of unemployed increased by 4,400. Meanwhile, the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area’s civilian labor force increased by 85,400, while the number of employed increased by 80,000 and the number of unemployed increased by 5,400. For the year, the unemployment rates for the Washington Metropolitan Division and the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area was unchanged from the previous year while the Metropolitan Division increased 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 16,200 jobs. The private sector increased by 12,700 jobs, while the public sector increased by 3,500 jobs over-the-month. Six private sectors, along with the federal and local government had over-the-month job gains. Job gains were registered in leisure and hospitality which gained (5,800 jobs); professional and business services gained (3,400 jobs); trade, transportation, and utilities gained (2,800 jobs); financial activities gained (1,000 jobs); mining, logging and construction gained (900 jobs) and other services gained (600 jobs). Two private sectors had over-the-month job losses. Job losses was registered in information which lost (700 jobs) and educational and health services lost (1,100 jobs). Government overall gained (3,500 jobs) over the month. Federal government gained (1,500 jobs), while the local government increased by (2,000 jobs) and the state government had no over-the-month job change.


During the last 12 months, employment in the Washington Metropolitan Division increased by 36,700 jobs. The private sector added 32,500 jobs, while the public sector gained 4,200 jobs. Professional and business services along with Leisure and hospitality reported the greatest year-over growth; both sectors were up by 12,000 jobs each. Three other private sector industries along with the federal and local government posted year-over job gains: Educational and health services gained (7,400 jobs); other services gained (200 jobs); and trade, transportation and utilities gained (4,400 jobs). Information recorded the greatest year-over downturn, down 2,600 jobs. Two other private sectors along with the state government had year-over losses: Financial activities lost (400 jobs); and manufacturing lost (500 jobs); meanwhile, the state government lost (200 jobs). Mining, logging and construction had no over-the-year job change.

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.