Jobless rates in the District, Maryland and Virginia drop in May

By V. Dion Haynes, The Washington Post

The District’s drop in unemployment was the most dramatic of the three localities, falling to 10.4 percent from 11 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In Maryland, the rate decreased to 7.2 percent from 7.5 percent, while Virginia’s rate fell to 7.1 percent from 7.2 percent.

The declines are attributable to real job growth in the public and private sectors, analysts said, rather than an artificial deflation of the rates caused by a reduction in the labor force that occurs when long-term “discouraged” unemployed people stop looking for work.

“We’re in a robust employment region. We’re doing very well,” said Mitchell Halaby, senior executive recruiter at Ajilon Finance, a subsidiary of the Adecco employment agency. “But if you’re still not working, regardless of how the economy is doing, to you the economy stinks.”

The region’s job growth bucked the U.S. trend for May, when only 41,000 private-sector jobs were added nationwide. Although 700 private-sector jobs were lost in the District, 11,000 were added in Virginia and 4,800 in Maryland, said Anirban Basu, chairman and chief executive of Sage Policy Group, a Baltimore economic and policy consulting firm.

“Two in five of the private-sector jobs added across the country came from Maryland and Virginia,” Basu said. The three jurisdictions “continue to be healthier than the rest of the country from a labor market perspective.”

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