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District of Columbia’s Unemployment Rate Drops to Lowest Level Since Beginning of 2009

(Source: Mayor Vincent C. Gray) - (WASHINGTON, DC) – Mayor Vincent C. Gray today welcomed news from the Department of Employment Services (DOES) that the District’s unemployment rate dropped to 8.5 percent in October – a drop of two-tenths of a percentage point from September’s figure and the lowest unemployment rate the District has seen in nearly four years.

October’s figures mark the eighth consecutive month that the District’s unemployment rate has dropped.

“I’m proud that our efforts to put District residents back to work continue to pay off, and that we are at our lowest level of unemployment since January of 2009,” Mayor Gray said. “But we still have far too many residents who are having a hard time finding jobs, and I will continue to work hard to ensure they get back to work along with the rest of DC”

The October joblessness figures are drawn from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) through its monthly survey of the District’s employers. It showed a net increase of 4,100 jobs in the District over September’s total – including an increase of 4,800 private-sector jobs.

The District’s change in unemployment from a year ago is not only dramatic, but also significantly outpaced the rest of the nation. Since October of 2011, the District’s joblessness rate has dropped by 1.8 percentage points – from 10.3 percent to 8.5 percent. The last time DC saw such a large one-year drop was September 1998 to September 1999. In addition, the District’s 1.8-percentage-point drop over that period was nearly double the simultaneous one-percentage-point drop in the national unemployment rate.

Although DOES  will not be able to make cross-state comparisons of October-2011-to-October-2012 changes in unemployment rates until figures for other states are released later today, it is likely that the District will have one of the largest unemployment-rate drops in the country. Between September 2011 and September 2012, the 1.7-percentage-point drop in the District’s unemployment rate was tied for the second-largest among all states, slightly behind Nevada’s 1.8-percentage-point drop over the same period.

Since Mayor Gray took office in January of 2001, the number of jobs in the District has grown by 25,300, to 738,600 total available jobs. That includes private-sector growth of 28,900 jobs – coupled with a decline of 3,600 in government payrolls.

“The robust growth of the District’s private sector coupled with slight decline in the number of public-sector jobs since the beginning of 2011 underscores how crucial it is for us to diversify our city’s economy beyond dependence on the federal government,” Mayor Gray said. “This is why it’s more important than ever for the Council to pass the final part of the Technology Sector Enhancement Act and ensure that we can compete with our neighbors to retain and grow our burgeoning tech industry.

 


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