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D.C.'s 9% jobless rate among highest
(Published February 7, 2005)
Unemployment in the nation's capital increased for the fourth consecutive month in December, climbing to 9 percent with 26,500 D.C. residents unable to find work during the month.
New data from the D.C. Department of Employment Services (DOES) showed the District's civilian labor force also increased by 1,600 persons during the month and "a significant number of job seekers entering the labor market failed to find employment," noted DOES Director Gregg Irish.
December's seasonally adjusted jobless rate was two-tenths of a percent higher than November's 8.8 percent rate and 2 percent higher than the rate in December 2003. The District began last year with 6.3 percent unemployment in January 2004.
Unemployment in the District was higher in December 2004 than in any of the 50 states, with the next highest rate being 7.3 percent in Michigan and Alaska. Virginia's unemployment rate remained steady at 3.3 percent for the fourth consecutive month, while Maryland's rate rose slightly from 3.9 percent in November to 4 percent in December 2004.
Data from the U.S. Department of Labor showed the District of Columbia's jobless rate in December exceeding the rate in almost all major urban areas except those with large migrant farm worker populations.
Baltimore's metropolitan area unemployment rate in December 2004 was 4.2 percent, down two-tenths of a percent from the previous month. Unemployment in the Richmond, Va., area was 3.6 percent in December, down from 3.7 percent in November.
Ironically, the Labor Department has continued to tout the Washington metropolitan area's unemployment rate – combining the nation's capital with its "suburban ring" areas – as among the nation's lowest. The metropolitan area's jobless rate in December 2004 was 2.9 percent, down from identical 3.1 percent rates in November 2004 and December 2003.
The seasonally adjusted national unemployment rate in December 2004 was 5.4 percent, unchanged from the November rate and three-tenths of a percent lower than the December 2003 rate.
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