For the first time in 14 months, the Washington area lost more jobs than it gained, according to
a Labor Department report on June unemployment released Wednesday.
The area unemployment rate rose half a percentage point in June, to 6.2 percent, from 5.7 percent in May, the report said, largely because of job losses in the federal government.
Throughout the economic downturn, the Washington area fared better than most other metropolitan areas, mainly because the federal government hired by the thousands as the private sector contracted.
But now, as regions around Dallas, New York, Chicago, Houston and Boston are gaining tens of thousands of jobs on an annualized basis, the Washington area is lagging. It lost a net 2,700 positions from June 2010 to June 2011, according to the report.
The rise in the jobless rate during June does not necessarily mean that unemployment worsened from the month before. Because the numbers are not seasonally adjusted, a side-by-side comparison from one month to the next is not possible. The change from June 2010 to June 2011, which more accurately reflects fluctuating factors such as seasonal work that occurs in certain months, shows a decrease in the jobless rate of one-tenth of a percentage point — from 6.3 percent to 6.2 percent.