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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Jobs Returning to Nation's Capitol Region

Jobless rates fell in Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia last month, according to government data released Friday. It was the first regionwide decline in unemployment rates since the recession of 2009.

According to the April data from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, Washington D.C., experienced the most dramatic drop in April's measure, falling to 11% from 11.5% in March. Maryland's unemployment rate fell to 7.5% from 7.7% and Virginia's fell to 7.2% from 7.3%.

Many economists over the weekend agreed that the data reflected a real drop in joblessness and that it underscores ongoing evidence of a sustained recovery cycle.

"This is the first time all three [unemployment rates] declined in tandem," said Sara Kline, an economist at Moody's Analytics. "The labor force has been growing for the last couple of months and there's been a downtick in unemployment."

According to the Washington Post, a survey conducted in April among recruiters in the District, Maryland and Virginia, showed a dramatic increase in hiring in the first quarter. "To see four straight months of unemployment going down and over-the-year job growth -- these trends are going in the right direction," said Joseph P. Walsh Jr., director of an employment services agency in the region.

"Things certainly are headed in the right direction," said Eric M. Seleznow, executive director of the Maryland Governor's Workforce Investment Board.

In Virginia, more than 28,000 jobs were added, 14,100 of them in Northern Virginia. "It was an encouraging month," said Ann D. Lang, senior economist at the Virginia Employment Commission.

The growing strength of the job market continues the positive trend nationally that we've been tracking here for over a year now -- a trend that now appears quite likely to be only a few months away from netting the U.S. economy 500,000 new jobs per month.

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