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District’s Unemployment Rate Drops to Lowest Since 2008

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

District’s Unemployment Rate Drops to Lowest Since 2008

November-to-December Drop of 0.5 Percentage Points Latest among Significant Employment Gains under Mayor Gray’s Administration; Gains Biggest in Wards 5, 7 and 8

(WASHINGTON, DC) – Mayor Vincent C. Gray today welcomed new figures from the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) that indicate that the District’s unemployment rate for December dropped to 8.1 percent, a decrease of 0.5 percentage points from the November rate of 8.6 percent. The figure is the lowest unemployment rate the District has seen since December of 2008.

The latest figures also show that the wards of the District that historically have had the highest unemployment rates saw major decreases from the previous month. Rates in Wards 5, 7, and 8 decreased by 0.5, 0.6, and 0.8 percentage points from November 2013, respectively. The figures continue a trend of significant decreases in the unemployment rate in those wards since Mayor Gray took office.

“I am pleased to see that our efforts to get District residents – and particularly those in the hard-hit East End of our city – back to work continue to bear significant fruit,” said Mayor Gray. “Nonetheless, we still have a long way to go to ensure that everyone in the District who wants to work can find a good job with a good wage, and I will continue to work hard at reaching that goal.”

Highlights of the District’s December unemployment figures include:

  • The lowest citywide unemployment rate in five years (since December 2008);
  • The District’s overall unemployment rate is down 2.2 percentage points since August of 2011;
  • We now have the lowest unemployment rates in Wards 5, 7, and 8 in more than five years;
  • The Ward 8 unemployment rate stands at 17.7 percent – a decrease of more than 9 percentage points from a high of 26.9 percent in June of 2011;
  • The Ward 7 unemployment rate stands at 11.6 percent – a decrease of nearly 7 percentage points from a high of 18.3 percent in June of 2011;
  • The Ward 5 unemployment rate stands at 9.4 percent – a decrease of nearly 6 percentage points from a high of 15 percent in June of 2011.
  • We are now at the lowest total number of unemployed District residents since February, 2009;
  • Since January, 2011, 33,500 private-sector jobs have been created in the District.

The improvements in the District’s unemployment rate have been the most dramatic since Mayor Gray and the District’s Department of Employment Services (DOES) launched the innovative One City ● One Hire program in mid-2011. The program asks employers to commit to hiring at least one previously unemployed District resident, and matches residents seeking jobs with employers looking to hire District residents. Since the program began, it has connected more than 8,700 District residents with jobs at 1,103 partner employers.

December estimates from BLS show that the number of unemployed District residents decreased by 1,700, from 31,200 in November, 2013 to 29,500 in December, 2013. The last time the number of unemployed District residents was this low was in February, 2009, when it stood at 28,926. The number of employed District residents in December was 336,800 – an increase of nearly 27,000 since July, 2011.