Unemployment drops slightly in District, Virginia and Maryland


The financial and professional services sectors are helping accelerate the recovery in the Washington region. (Jeffrey MacMillan/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST)
December 21, 2012

Unemployment levels in the Washington region dropped by the slimmest of margins in November, mirroring a small but consistent decline in joblessness across the country.

The rate dropped a 0.1 percent across the board in Maryland, Virginia and the District, according to government data released Friday. The District’s jobless rate remained the highest of the three, hovering at 8.4 percent, well above the national average of 7.7 percent. Conversely, in Maryland and Virginia, unemployment stands much lower, now at 6.6 percent and 5.6 percent, respectively.

All three are below their mark from a year ago, with the greatest decline coming in the nation’s capital, where the unemployment rate was at 10.2 percent in November 2011.

While movement in the unemployment rates was consistent across the region, changes in the total workforce varied. Total nonfarm payrolls in the District declined from 739,500 in October to 734,500 in November and those in Maryland dropped from 2,585,700 to 2,582,600.

In Virginia, payrolls jumped from 3,734,300 to 3,743,600, largely due to growth in the financial, business and professional services sectors, which have been driving much of the recovery in the region for the past several months.

Local unemployment decreases. (The Washington Post/Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Nationwide, unemployment rates declined month-over-month in all but five states and year-over-year in all but seven in November. The national unemployment rate dropped to 7.7 percent from 7.9 percent in October.

Follow J.D. Harrison on Twitter.

J.D. Harrison covers startups, small business and entrepreneurship, with a focus on public policy, and he runs the On Small Business blog.
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