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Washington D.C. Jobs Market: 2017 Year-to-Date Review

Washington D.C. Jobs Market: 2017 Year-to-Date Review

Whether you’re an executive at a Washington D.C. business in need of a recruitment strategy or a candidate looking for a job, it’s important to understand the realities facing your industry and local economy. Here we’ve gathered the most recent news and predictions for hiring and employment in Washington D.C.:

In the Washington D.C. metropolitan area, total employment outside the agricultural industry grew by 83,100, or 2.6 percent, between July 2016 and July 2017. Employment in the region, which includes Arlington and Alexandria across the Potomac in Virginia, outpaced national employment growth of 1.4 percent for the same time period.1

Education and health services jobs added the most new positions between July 2016 and July 2017, with employment gains of 22,900, or an increase of 5.4 percent. Government sector employment grew by 17,500 jobs, the leisure and hospitality sector grew by 16,600 jobs, and the professional and business services sector grew by 16,000 jobs.2

The unemployment rate in the Washington D.C. region ticked up slightly from 6.1 percent in June to 6.4 percent in July’s preliminary figures.3

A Push for Innovation, Growth and Inclusiveness

Washington D.C. ranked fifth on a WalletHub analysis of the best state economies. The district’s ranking was based on economic health, activity, and innovation potential, according to the report released in June.4

The Washington D.C. economy has strengthened since 2012, according to Mayor Muriel Bowser’s five-year economic strategy report, released in March. But Bowser said the city needs to push to fulfill its economic potential going forward. Goals outlined in the report include growing D.C.’s private sector economy 20 percent by 2022 and lowering unemployment among all segments of the population. Initiatives aimed at achieving these goals include providing space and infrastructure for businesses, promoting D.C.’s unique identity and appeal, and establishing career pipelines to keep talent in the district.5

Washington D.C.’s Strong Tech Growth

Washington D.C. ranked as the fourth best market for tech jobs in the country, according to an analysis released in July by CBRE, a global real estate services and investment company. The rankings were based on supply, growth, available tech talent, completed tech degrees, and housing costs.6

Over the past five years, Washington D.C. ranked second in the nation for the rate of increase in software hiring, according to a study by Glassdoor. The research compared the number of postings for software engineers, developers and managers on June 1, 2012 and the number of postings for software positions on June 1, 2017. The district now accounts for 6.8 percent of software job postings in the country, an increase of 1.3 percent since 2012.7

In August, San Francisco-based company Yelp announced it was opening a new office in Washington D.C. The crowd-sourced online review company will move into a 52,000-square-foot office next to the Verizon Center and bring 500 new jobs to the region. Yelp committed to hiring half of the new employees from within Washington D.C.8

Arlington, VA is positioning itself as a tech hub as fewer federal dollars flow to the Washington D.C. suburb. Tech incubators 1776 and EasternFoundry have offices in Arlington where they offer mentoring, networking, training and shared workspaces to tech startups. The tech sectors burgeoning in the region include education, medical, data analytics, cybersecurity and energy.9 

A new pedestrian-friendly neighborhood is in the planning stages in Arlington’s Crystal City area. Plans for the new “North District” neighborhood, proposed by two of D.C’s top development firms, include an Alamo Drafthouse Theater, an anchor grocery store, office buildings, multifamily housing, retail, a new Metro station, and public spaces.10

Nestlé USA also announced plans to move its U.S. headquarters to Arlington from California. The Switzerland-based global sweets and food company will bring about 750 jobs to an office building in Arlington’s Rosslyn area that has been vacant since it was constructed in 2013.11

Need hiring help in Washington, DC? Contact us.


1 Washington Area Employment - July 2017. Bureau of Labor Statistics, United States Department of Labor.  Web. 28 Aug 2017, accessed 11 Sept 2017.
2 Ibid
3 District of Columbia. Economy at a Glance. Bureau of Labor Statistics, United States Department of Labor. Web. 7 Sept 2017, accessed 11 Sept 2017.
4 Gilgore, Sara. “Study: D.C. One-ups Maryland and Virginia in Creating a Strong Economy.” Washington Business Journal. Web. 6 June 2017.
5 Goff, Karen. “D.C. Economic Strategy Report Stresses Private Sector Growth, Unemployment Drop.” Washington Business Journal. Web. 7 March 2017.
6 Sandler, Rachel. “Two Surprise Cities Are the New Top Markets For Tech Jobs.” USA Today. Web. 18 July 2017.
7 Clabaugh, Jeff. “Washington Outpaces Silicon Valley for Software Jobs Growth.” WTOP. Web. 28 July 2017.
8 Jamison, Peter. “Yelp to Open New Office in D.C., Bringing 500 Jobs to City’s Tech Sector.” The Washington Post. Web. 4 Aug 2017.
9 Lytle, Tamara. “Can Tech Startups Reinvent Arlington’s Economy?” Arlington Magazine. Web. 14 Nov 2016.
10 Goldchain, Michelle. “Crystal City Developer Plans New ‘North District’ Neighborhood with Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, Specialty Grocer.” Curbed, Washington D.C. Web. 11 Sept 2017.
11 Bhattarai, Abha. “Nestlé to Move U.S. Headquarters to Arlington, Bringing 750 Jobs.” The Washington Post. Web. 1 Feb 2017.

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