Employment in the Washington area was strong in May, despite the seasonal return of college students to the job market, which pushed unemployment up slightly in Maryland and Virginia.

Unemployment in the District dropped to the lowest level in nine years, from 6.3 percent in April to 6.2 percent in May, and the number of jobs increased by 100 to 614,000. Labor economists said this points to a continuing rebound in the city's economy.

"The D.C. economy has been revived, and more jobs are being created," said D.C. Department of Employment Services economist Eileen Dent. She said the tight suburban job market has led suburban employers to turn to District residents.

The job market is tight in the suburbs, despite small increases in unemployment in May. Maryland's statewide unemployment rate increased from 3.5 percent in April to 3.6 percent in May. But in Montgomery County, which had the lowest unemployment rate in the state, joblessness was a tiny 1.8 percent.

Unemployment in Virginia rose from 2.4 percent to 2.9 percent, but Northern Virginia's rate was only 1.7 percent. According to the Virginia Employment Commission, the statewide increase "was entirely the result of college students looking for summer work and new graduates entering the labor force."

Virginia also reported that the number of nonagricultural jobs in the state rose to 3,379,800 in May, beating the previous record of 3,379,400 set last December. The increase resulted from expansion in the technology, tourism and construction industries, officials said.