WASHINGTON -- District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray delivered some good news on Friday morning: Unemployment in July dropped two tenths of a percentage point, standing at 8.9 percent. That's the lowest unemployment in the city since February 2009.
"I'm thrilled that our efforts to reduce unemployment in the District continue to pay off –- and especially in areas that have been hit hardest by the recent recession," the mayor said in a statement released by his office. "Having unemployment under 9 percent citywide is a huge milestone, and I'm proud of the work we've done to put D.C. residents back to work."
According to the mayor's office:
The report from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the total number of jobs in the District grew by 13,100 in July and that the number of unemployed District residents decreased by 600.
In the last year, the aggregate unemployment rate in Wards 5, 7 and 8 has dropped three full percentage points, from 19.2 percent to 16.2 percent. The trend has been most dramatic in Ward 8, where unemployment has dropped by more than four percentage points since July 2011 (from 26.3 percent to 22.5 percent). Over the same period, unemployment in Ward 7 has dropped from 17.8 percent to 15 percent and the rate in Ward 5 has dropped from 14.6 percent to 12.2 percent.
Mayor Gray noted that the District’s job growth in recent years has been largely fueled by economic diversification – with growth in private-sector jobs outpacing growth in federal jobs. Statistics from the District’s Office of the Chief Financial Officer show that, in the fourth quarter of 2012, there were 4 percent more private-sector jobs in the District than at the same time last year, while there were 1 percent fewer federal jobs over that same period.
While those numbers are promising, regional economists and local officials are waiting to see what happens with budget sequestration, which could hit the D.C. area's federal contracting sectors hard -- particularly in Virginia.
Presumptive mayor-elect Vince Gray rallys fellow Democrats during a 'get out the vote' campaign event at the First Trinity Lutheran Church Oct. 14, 2010, in Washington, D.C.
Newly elected Mayor Gray delivers the winning speech of the election in front of his supporters at Love Nightclub on Nov. 2, 2010.
Mayor Gray and Debra Lee speak during the 4th annual BET Honors at the Warner Theatre on January 15, 2011.
Gray with members of the Urban Land Institute, celebrating the group's 75th anniversary on Dec. 14, 2011.
Breaking ground at Cardozo Senior High School, Nov. 11, 2011.
Gray with former Office of Aging Director Veronica E. Pace at the opening of the new Office of Aging Headquarters on Oct. 27, 2011.
The mayor bagging groceries at Safeway during a breast cancer fundraiser on Oct. 25, 2011.
Mayor Gray at DCOA's Senior Citizen Holiday Celebration on December 8, 2011.
Celebrating Nordic Food Day with students at Miner Elementary School, Oct. 26, 2011.
Gray marching at the D.C. Full Freedom Rally on Oct. 15, 2011.
Gray meeting with Mohammad Iqbal Aziz, governor of Laghman Province in Afghanistan, on Nov. 2, 2011.
Gray at a pizza party honoring local youth football players on Dec. 13, 2011.
The mayor addresses an audience at the Cadillac display at the 2011 Washington Auto Show Jan. 27, 2011 at the Washington Convention Center.
Gray with Planters mascot Mr. Peanut at The Corps Network 'Plant' New Urban Park on July 12, 2011.
District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray takes questions as he testifies in support of a House resolution expressing support for admitting the District of Columbia as the 51st state., Jan. 27, 2012, in Concord, N.H.
Gray chats with President Obama following his annual back-to-school address at Benjamin Banneker Academic High School Sept. 28, 2011.
Vincent Gray And Cathy Lanier
Mayor Gray and Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy Lanier during a news conference on April 10, 2012, to announce initiatives to combat the growing robbery rate targeting smartphones and other cell phones.
Gray arrives at the opening gala of the historic Howard Theater in Washington, D.C. on April 12, 2012.
Vincent Gray With Mary Cheh
The mayor showcasing the city's newly-purchased snowplows on Dec. 14, 2011, with D.C. Councilmember Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3).
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