Region's Unemployment Rising

Metropolitan area still significantly lower than national average

By Arlene Borenstein
|  Monday, Mar 22, 2010  |  Updated 10:02 AM EDT
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Region's Unemployment Rising

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The classified section may not reflect it as much as your wallet, but new government numbers show unemployment in the region is going up.

The jobless rate for the District, Maryland and Virginia was 6.2 percent in December, but it jumped to 6.9 percent this January, the Washington Post reported.

The biggest hit was to construction jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those are down by more than 8 percent from January 2009 to January 2010. Professional and business services, along with retail, also suffered job losses in the thousands.

"By and large this is viewed as bad news. It suggests many people began a job search in the Washington area, but precious few of them found jobs," said Anirban Basu, chairman and chief executive of Sage Policy Group, a Baltimore economic and policy consulting firm, in an interview with the paper.

The good news here is that the region is still significantly below the national unemployment rate, which is currently at 9.7 percent. Bethesda, Rockville and Frederick, Maryland reported the lowest unemployment among the most populous metropolitan areas in the country at 6.4 percent. Washington D.C., Arlington and Alexandria also had low numbers at 7.1 percent.

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