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District of Columbia Unemployment Rate Improves to 6.1 Percent Citywide in May

Friday, June 17, 2016

(Washington, DC) – The District of Columbia Department of Employment Services reported today that the seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate was 6.1 percent in May – down 0.3 percentage points from the reported April unemployment rate. The unemployment rates in Ward 7 and Ward 8 continue to show significant decline, demonstrating a 0.4 and 0.7 percent drop since April.

In Ward 7, the unemployment rate is 9.5 percent, the lowest since 2007. In Ward 8, the unemployment rate is currently 11.3 percent, the lowest since at least 2002 when the data was first calculated by Ward.

“My Administration is working each and every day to ensure that all Washingtonians are getting a fair shot in our city,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser. “We are encouraged by the most recent jobs numbers, particularly in Wards 7 and 8 where we know the opportunity gap is most significant. Today’s report demonstrates that our city is on the right path to ensure that District residents have the tools and skills they need to land good paying jobs, setting them on a pathway to the middle class.”

The number of employed District residents was up 2,200 from 371,400 in April 2016 to 373,600 in May 2016.

The District’s preliminary May job estimates show an increase of 1,700 jobs over-the-month, for a total of 781,000 jobs in the District. The private sector increased by 1,000 jobs while the public sector payrolls increased by 700 jobs. The numbers are drawn from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) through its monthly survey of the District of Columbia’s employers.

Based on more complete reporting from employers, previously released April estimates were revised upward to show an over-the-month (March 16 – April 16) total non-farm employment increase of 6,700 jobs.

Employment Overview

  • Trade, Transportation, and Utilities sectors increased by 700 jobs, after having an increase of 500 jobs in April. With employment at 34,100, jobs are up by 2,600 or 8.3 percent from a year ago.
  • Educational and Health Services sector decreased by 1,500 jobs, after an increase of 500 jobs in the prior month. With employment sector totals at 131,500, jobs are up by 200 or 0.2 percent from a year ago.
  • Information sector decreased by 100 jobs, after having a decrease of 100 jobs in the prior month. With employment at 16,800, jobs are down by 400 or -2.3 percent from one year ago.
  • Financial Activities sector decreased by 200 jobs, after an increase of 100 jobs the prior month. With employment at 30,400, jobs are up by 300 or 1.0 percent from one year ago.
  • Manufacturing sector had no over-the-month change in jobs, after having no change in jobs in the prior month. With employment sector totals at 1,200, jobs were up by 100 or 9.1 percent from one year ago.
  • Professional and Business Services sector increased by 2,400 jobs, after an increase of 1,700 jobs in April. With employment at 165,600, jobs are up by 3,900 or 2.4 percent from a year ago.
  • Construction sector decreased by 100 jobs, after an increase of 100 jobs in April. With employment at 14,200, jobs are down by 200 or -1.4 percent over the year.
  • Other Services sector decreased by 200 jobs, after having a decrease of 100 jobs the prior month. With employment at 70,300, jobs are down by 800 or -1.1 percent from a year ago.
  • Leisure and Hospitality sector had no over-the-month job change, after an increase of 2,400 jobs in April. With employment at 76,400, jobs are up by 1,400 or 1.9 percent over the year.

Labor Force Overview

  • The number of employed District residents increased by 2,200 over the month to 373,600. The civilian labor force increased by 1,100 to 397,700.
  • One year ago, total employment was 360,500 and the civilian labor force was 387,500. The number of unemployed was 27,000, and the unemployment rate was 7.0 percent.

NOTES: The May 2016 final and June 2016 preliminary unemployment rate and survey of jobs data for the District will be released on Friday, July 22, 2016. Historical jobs and labor force estimates for the District of Columbia and detailed labor market information is available at: http://does.dc.gov/page/labor-statistics">statistics

Technical Notes: Estimates of industry employment and unemployment levels are arrived through the use of two different monthly surveys.

Industry employment data is derived from the Current Employment Statistics (CES) survey, a monthly survey of business establishments conducted by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of the US Department of Labor, which provides estimates of employment, hours, and earnings data broken down by industry for the nation as a whole, all states, and most major metropolitan areas (often referred to as the “establishment” survey).

Resident employment and unemployment data are mainly derived from the District’s portion of the national Current Population Survey (CPS), a household survey conducted each month by the US Census Bureau under contract with BLS, which provides input to the Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) program (often referred to as the “household” survey).

Both industry and household estimates are revised each month based on additional information from updated survey reports compiled by BLS. In addition, these estimates are benchmarked (revised) annually based on actual counts from the District’s Unemployment Compensation Law administrative records and other data.

Data reflects 2015 annual benchmark revisions. Industry employment data is not seasonally adjusted.