The job market in the District, Maryland, and Virginia changed little in August, according to numbers the Labor Department released Friday. They suggest a near standstill in job growth in Virginia and Maryland and modest growth in the District.

Maryland lost 800 jobs in August as its unemployment rate rose to 4.3 percent from 4.1 percent in July. Virginia lost 1,700 jobs as its unemployment rate remained 3.5 percent. The District added 2,000 jobs in August as its unemployment rate dropped to 7.5 percent from 7.8 percent. Nationally, the rate was 5.4 percent.

Monthly state jobs data are prone to wild swings, so it is risky to read too much into the numbers. But they do suggest that the strong job growth in Maryland and Virginia this year was moderated in late summer. And while the District's readings are particularly volatile because it is a smaller jurisdiction, it should be a relief to watchers of the District economy that a spike in joblessness in July has at least temporarily abated.

The biggest source of job creation in Maryland and Virginia during the past year continued to be the professional and business services sector, generating 2,400 jobs in Maryland and 2,200 jobs in Virginia.

-- Neil Irwin