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Washington Metro Unemployment Rate Holds Steady at 3.6 Percent in March

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Washington, DC) – The District of Columbia Department of Employment Services (DOES) reported today that the preliminary March job estimates show an increase of 8,900 jobs for a total of 2,696,700 jobs in the Washington Metropolitan Division. The private sector increased by 5,800 jobs, while the public sector gained 3,100 jobs. The Washington Metropolitan Division's not seasonally adjusted March 2018 unemployment rate was 3.6 percent, which is unchanged the February  rate of 3.6 percent. The Washington Metropolitan Division’s unemployment rate was 3.8 percent in March 2017, which is down 0.2 percentage points from the current unemployment rate of 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 March 2018 was 2,729,300, of which 2,630,500 were employed and 98,800 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 3,017,300, of which 2,915,900 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 3,423,800, of which 3,299,400 were employed and 124,300 were unemployed. The unemployment rate for this area was 3.6 percent. For the month, the unemployment rates for the Washington Metropolitan Division, the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Suburban Ring was unchanged 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 34,600, while the number of employed increased by 39,000, and the number of unemployed decreased by 4,400. The civilian labor force for the Suburban Ring increased over the year by 35,500, while the number of employed increased by 35,900, and the number of unemployed decreased by 500. Meanwhile, the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area’s civilian labor force increased by 42,300, while the number of employed increased by 43,400 and the number of unemployed decreased by 1,200. For the year, the unemployment rate for the Washington Metropolitan Division declined by 0.2 percentage points, while the unemployment rate for the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area declined by 0.1 percentage point and the Suburban Ring unemployment rate was unchanged.

Metropolitan Division’s Job Growth

Total wage and salary employment in the Washington Metropolitan Division increased over the month by 8,900 jobs. The private sector increased by 5,800 jobs, while the public sector increased by 3,100 jobs over-the-month. Six private sectors, along with the state and local government had over-the-month job gains. Job gains were registered in leisure and hospitality which gained (3,200 jobs); mining logging & construction gained (1,700 jobs); trade, transportation, and utilities gained (3,600 jobs); financial activities gained (300 jobs ); education and health services gained (1,700 jobs); and information gained (200 jobs). Job losses were registered in manufacturing which lost (100 jobs); professional and business services lost (3,900 jobs); and other services lost (900 jobs). Government overall gained (3,100 jobs) over the month. State government gained (3,400 jobs), while the federal government decreased by (1,100 jobs), and the local government increased by (800 jobs).

During the last 12 months, employment in the Washington Metropolitan Division increased by 33,100 jobs. The private sector gained 35,900 jobs, while the public sector lost 2,800 jobs. Professional and Business services reported the greatest year-over growth, up 10,100 jobs. Seven other private sector industries posted year-over job gains: leisure and hospitality services gained (6,800 jobs); educational and health services gained (6,200 jobs); trade, transportation and utilities gained (4,800 jobs); mining, logging and construction gained (2,400 jobs); other services gained (2,200 jobs); financial activities gained (2,200 jobs); and information gained (1,500 jobs). Job losses were registered in manufacturing, which lost (300 jobs).  Federal government lost (5,400 jobs), while State government gained (2,000 jobs) and the local government gained (600 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 2017 annual benchmark revisions.

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