- The Washington Times - Friday, October 19, 2012

Workforce data released Friday shows the District of Columbia continues to see a slow, but promising, decline in unemployment.

The District’s unemployment rate decreased from 8.8 percent in August to 8.7 percent in September, marking seven consecutive months of decline and bringing the city closer to the national jobless rate of 7.8 percent, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Among the city’s neighbors, Maryland saw its unemployment rate drop from 7.1 percent in August to 6.9 percent in September, while Virginia held steady at 5.9 percent.

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray attributed the steady drop in unemployment — the rate was 8.9 percent in July — to his administration’s efforts to link employers with jobless residents who meet the firms’ needs. He also stressed the need to diversify the city’s economy so it is not reliant on the federal government.

The number of unemployed city residents dropped by about 300, from roughly 31,200 to 30,900, from August to September, the mayor said.

Despite progress, unemployment remains exceedingly high in the District’s eastern wards. In September, the unemployment rate stood at 21.9 percent in Ward 8, 14.5 percent in Ward 7 and 11.8 in Ward 5, according to data from the D.C. Department of Employment Services.

Much like the city’s overall rate, each of these wards saw its rate drop by 0.1 percent from August to September.

Ward 3 enjoys the lowest unemployment rate in the city, at 2.2 percent.

“I welcome the drop to 8.7 percent,” Mr. Gray said Friday, “but we must continue to push to lower unemployment in all wards of the city.”

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