And though D.C.’s jobless rate remained stagnant, it is down from from 10 percent in March 2011. Unemployment in the District hovered in the double digits for over two years beginning in August 2009 before finally dipping to 9.9 percent in January. In the past 12 months, D.C. has added 13,100 jobs for a total of 738,600, according to the BLS.
Even though the needle moved very little in the past month, there are still some silver linings to be found, said Doug Hall, an analyst at the Economic Policy Institute.
“The fact that the employment rate is below 10 percent is a pretty good thing,” Hall said. “At the same time, an unemployment rate that’s more or less 10 percent is certainly not something to be celebrating. It’s obvious more needs to be done to turn the corner in what’s been a pretty weak recovery.”
Hall said much of the onus on keeping economic fires alive lies with the federal government funding infrastructure projects that can lead to long-term job creation. He cited a recent analysis by his organization of the budget proposal favored by House Republicans that would make significant cuts to domestic discretionary spending.
“The role of the federal government is clear here,” Hall said. “At the same time, state and local governments need to make sure they are not compromising their future based on the faulty premise of avoiding deficits down the road.”