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District’s Unemployment Rate at 8.5 Percent for December 2012

Friday, January 18, 2013

District’s Unemployment Rate at 8.5 Percent for December 2012

Mayor Gray says figures reinforce need to eliminate uncertainty around sequestration, continue to invest in diversifying and growing the District’s economy

(Washington, DC) – Mayor Vincent C. Gray today said new federal figures showing a slight uptick in the District’s unemployment rate last month underscore the need for federal officials to end the uncertainty around budget sequestration and for District officials double down on efforts to continue growing the economy and connecting DC residents with jobs.

Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics figures for December showed that the District’s unemployment rate notched up by a tenth of a percentage point over November’s rate, to 8.5 percent.

“While I’m disappointed by the uptick in the unemployment rate, I’m heartened by the fact that our economy is still creating jobs,” said Mayor Gray. “As I’ve said numerous times before, we must not rest and we must not fool ourselves into thinking that our work on job creation is done. I remain hopeful that, working with the Council, we can move forward on implementing my administration’s Five-Year Economic Development Strategy and continue growing our economy and training our residents for the many new jobs that are being created in the District.”

But Mayor Gray noted that the slight increase in unemployment should not overshadow the overall growth in the DC economy last month:

  • The number of District residents employed increased by 2,900 over the month, to 336,300. The civilian labor force increased by 3,600, to 367,300.
  • One year ago, total employment in the District was 310,600 and the civilian labor force was 345,300.  The number of unemployed was 34,800, and the unemployment rate was 10.1 percent.

Mayor Gray also emphasized that some of the decline in employment likely owes to the uncertainty the entire region’s economy is experiencing due to the specter of federal budget sequestration.

“I call on members of Congress to act swiftly to end the uncertainty around future federal spending – thus eliminating the drag that this uncertainty is adding to our local and regional economy,” Mayor Gray said. “Continued inaction by Congress will only worsen the problem – and our residents who need to put food on the table can’t afford that.”