Employers in the Washington D.C. metropolitan extended their hiring spree by adding a
net 53,600 new jobs during the prior 12 months ending December 2018, representing
a 1.6% annual increase. The Professional & Business Services industry sector
accounted for one-third of the annual employment gains, adding 17,900 jobs (a 2.4%
increase). The Leisure & Hospitality (11,900 jobs); Mining & Construction (7,300 jobs);
and Trade, Transportation & Utilities (6,900 jobs) sectors accounted for another 49%
of the annual job growth. As a result of the healthy employment gains, the D.C. metro
area’s unemployment rate has declined 40 basis points to 2.9% over the prior 12
months, reaching its lowest level since April 2018.
Payroll employment within the District of Columbia grew by a modest 2,300 jobs since
December 2017. Leisure & Hospitality added the most jobs over the year (2,100 jobs)
followed by Financial Activities (1,500 jobs); Professional & Business Services (1,200
jobs); and Information (1,000 jobs). Meanwhile, the largest declines were reported
in Education & Health Services (1,600 jobs), Government (1,500 jobs) and Other
Services (1,200 jobs).
The Washington D.C. regional economy continues to experience diversification, and
Amazon’s selection of Arlington, Virginia as one of its new HQ locations validates the
region’s appeal to technology firms and large companies in other industries seeking
access to a highly educated workforce. As the economy enters its mature phase in
the cycle, the region will continue to add jobs, but at a decelerating pace. According
to the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University, the regional economy
is forecasted to create an average of 33,200 jobs from 2019 through 2020, which is
below the average job growth rate of 38,800 per year since 2000.