As the weather has warmed in recent months, DC holds out hope that job growth will also continue to thaw.
The slow start to 2014 had many in the Washington, DC metropolitan region (DC) on edge. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), DC had three straight months of declining total nonfarm employment numbers for the first quarter of 2014, including a loss of 7,300 and 9,000 jobs in February and March, respectively. These two months accounted for a loss of half the job gains that DC posted over the course of 2013 giving many pause that our region – one that formerly led the nation in the recovery – was slipping backwards while most others were moving ahead.
After a freezing winter and this miserable start to the year economically, the jobs situation in the Washington, DC Metropolitan region (DC) finally appears to have made a move in the right direction. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remains among the lowest in the nation at 4.9% with only Minneapolis, MN and Austin, TX outperforming the DC Metro. Preliminary employment figures for April 2014 are much rosier than those at the beginning of the year with the addition of nearly 6,000 jobs. This includes gains in the key sectors that boast the highest salaries and drive the majority of the office demand in the area. The Professional and Business Services sector added over 1,500 jobs while Financial Activities posted nearly 900 job gains in April with the balance of the gains in the Retail sector. The shrinking Federal sector remains a concern. This key sector that leases over 50 million square feet in the DC region has shed nearly 1,000 fewer jobs month over month since a year ago.
Despite the shrinking federal workforce, the location of our region in the midst of the largest purchaser of goods and services in the world (the U.S. Government) will continue to attract the nation’s best and brightest companies and people.
By: Nathan Edwards
Contributor: CJ Hardy, Northern Virginia Research Analyst, Cassidy Turley
Email Nathan: Nathan.Edwards@cassidyturley.com
Follow Cassidy Turley on Twitter: @CassidyTurleyRE