In the Washington area, more people were out of work last month than in May, although on the national level, raw figures on unemployment showed less of an increase and even a decline when the figures were seasonally adjusted.
According to D.C. government figures, which reflect a work force swollen with recent graduates, metropolitan area unemployment rose 0.8 percentage point to 9.8 percent in June. Nationally, seasonally adjusted figures show unemployment declining to 7 percent, while by unadjusted figures the jobless rate climbed 0.6 to 7.7 percent in June.
For the District, the jobless rate represents a hefty 1.8-percentage-point increase from a year ago, when unemployment stood at 8 percent of the work force. The statistics indicate that most of the increase resulted from fewer job openings rather than more job seekers: While the labor force, which includes employed workers and job seekers, fell by 16,000, the number of jobs fell by 20,700.
For the area as a whole, both the labor force and employment grew slightly over the year. But the number of new job seekers over the year outpaced the number of jobs, resulting in a 0.6-percentage-point increase in the June jobless rate.
Area officials attributed the increase to fiscal austerity programs in federal and local governments that slashed government employment. Private-sector employment in the area grew by more than 27,000 over the year, while government jobs fell by 13,100. High interest rates showed up in reduced construction employment, which fell 700 over the year and 200 since May.
Government job losses were concentrated in the District, where 10,200 positions were wiped out, of which 6,100 were federal.
Unemployment insurance payments went up commensurate with the jobless rates. Total payments under state and federal programs during June were $8.4 million in the District alone, up from $7.6 million in May.
The employment figures for the metropolitan area are a peak for the year.