For the nearly fifty years since Home Rule—except for a two-year period between 1979 and 1981, the eight-year period prior to the Revitalization Act, and the few months that followed the pandemic—the District’s labor force and resident employment has grown. This happened even during periods when the labor force-eligible population (non-institutionalized residents 16 and older) was declining.
The pandemic accelerated labor market shifts that present new challenges and risks to large metropolitan areas like the D.C. region. When it comes to attracting talent, D.C. not only competes with neighbors like Arlington, Fairfax, and Montgomery Counties, but also large and small cities across the country. This has always been the case, but now, workers and businesses alike are increasingly mobile thanks to the rise of remote work.
My School DC has released the results of the 2023 common lottery, which matches students who newly enroll in pre-kindergarten, at a public charter school, or at a District of Columbia Public Schools school aside from their in-boundary option. Overall, the number of applications increased to 22,912 in 2023, up from a pandemic dip to 19,926 in 2021 but still 9 percent down from pre-pandemic levels
Out-of-school time (OST) programs, such as afterschool and summer programming, provide childcare, academic support, and social and emotional development to students and families in D.C. But, access to these programs is not equal across the District.
The Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) has released enrollment audit data for school year 2022-23, showing that enrollment in D.C.’s public schools is up by 2.7 percent. This is a notable shift from virtually no growth in enrollment during the two pandemic school years in a system that historically adds 1,500 students a year. About two-thirds of the additional students are in pre-kindergarten through grade 12, and a significant share are adult and alternative students.
Data from the 2022 Business Response Survey—a survey administered by U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to provide timely information to assess the impact of specific events—was released last week. As we begin to emerge from the pandemic, establishments continue to allow telework in D.C.—more so than the rest of the U.S….
The average distance between D.C. Code offenders and their communities and families is farther than the average distance in other states. The average distance between D.C. and D.C. Code offenders in BOP facilities is 818 miles.6 While there is no recently available data on the U.S. as a whole, one study from 2001 found that the average distance between an incarcerated male and his home or family is 100 miles across all states, and the average distance between an incarcerated female and her home or family is 160 miles.
Layoffs in both D.C. and the entire U.S were up in the second half of 2022 compared to earlier in the year. However, layoffs remain below pre-pandemic levels. And, in D.C., hiring continues to lag historically high levels of job postings.
Hybrid work schedules continue to remain popular with most remote-eligible workers coming into the office 2 to 3 days per week. And, office vacancy rates remain high. As of Q4 2022, office vacancy is 17.3 percent in the central business district. Thus, remote work trends still present a risk to D.C.’s future tax base. While the city cannot likely influence worker preferences and behavior, the best way for the city to maintain and grow its tax base in this new post-pandemic environment is to double down on retaining existing and attracting new residents.
D.C. faces conditions that it hasn’t seen for years—the past decade’s rapid growth trends slowing, together with federal pandemic assistance ending. The city’s revenue picture remains stable. But it not strong enough to make up for the end of federal COVID assistance. Thus, the city is already committed to spending much less in FY 2024 than it did in FY 2023, at least on paper.
Prior to the pandemic, a typical business establishment in the District’s private sector employed 13.4 employees. By the second quarter of 2022, that number had declined to 10.7, representing a 20 percent contraction in the average establishment size. This decline was observed for all of the District’s major sectors. The average size…
After peaking in April or May of 2020, unemployment rates declined across large metropolitan areas, often to below pre-pandemic levels. For example, in the Washington metropolitan area, the unemployment rate increased from 3.4 percent in January 2020 to 9.6 percent in May 2020. But the most recent data release from the Bureau…
Out of the graduating class from the first pandemic school year of 2019-20, 51 percent of students from District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) and public charter schools enrolled in postsecondary education (including bachelor’s degree and two-year programs) within six months following graduation. This marks a decrease of five percentage points in postsecondary enrollment compared to pre-pandemic school year 2018-19. This suggests that the uncertainty brought by the pandemic led some students to delay or change their plans compared to a typical year.
On Tuesday, D.C. Council unanimously advanced a bill that would make all Metrobus rides that begin in the District of Columbia free (upon approval of the WMATA Board). The fare-free rides are estimated to cost $34.4 million per the fiscal impact statement issued by the OCFO. In addition, the bill provides $8.5 million to support the…
After years of improvement in D.C., NAEP standardized test scores released in October 2022 show that students’ performance declined across math and English for school year 2022 when compared to 2019. Nationwide and in D.C., the pandemic had a greater negative impact on math than reading.
Results from D.C.’s 2021-22 statewide PARCC assessment show declines in both English language arts (ELA) and math since the last time the test was administered in 2018-19. But how did learning outcomes change for a cohort of students as they moved from lower to upper grades? To take a closer look, we compared PARCC results and enrollment for elementary school students to middle school students three years later to answer two questions: First, have student cohorts experienced learning gains during the pandemic years that were similar to pre-pandemic patterns? And what do we know about how enrollment in this cohort has changed over time?
While job openings remain at historically high levels, employment growth has not been strong enough to make up for all the losses the District experienced since the pandemic. Since June 2020—the first month employment growth turned positive after the pandemic, D.C. added 47,000 jobs, making up about half the job loss the…
COVID-19 has changed migration trends across the entire country, pushing an increasing number of people outside of high-cost areas like the D.C. region, to lower cost, smaller metropolitan areas. When these folks move, do they take new jobs close to their new homes? Or with remote work taking hold, are they moving away but keeping their existing jobs in the region? Remote work may disguise the extent of talent shifting away from places like Washington area to elsewhere in the country.
The federal government has provided three rounds of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) grants to help schools with pandemic recovery. In D.C., the three rounds of ESSER funding added up to $540 million to be spent locally by the end of FY2024. This is the equivalent of about $1,307 per student per year.
In the 2021-2022 school year, D.C. public and public charter schools retained an average of 74 percent of their teachers, compared to a national average of 84 percent. However, some areas of D.C. have faced lower teacher retention than others, with greater shares of teachers in Wards 6, 7, and 8 choosing to leave their schools.
D.C. has not escaped the national substitute shortage facing districts across the country. According to public salary data published by District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS), the number of substitute teachers on the payroll has dropped from a peak of 987 in the first quarter of 2020, to 501 in the first quarter of 2022 (data are not available for public charter schools). While enrollment has shrunk in DCPS schools by four percent since 2019, the decrease in substitutes has outpaced that.
The increasing cost of renting an apartment in the District of Columbia is making it more difficult for essential community workers (teachers, nurses, police officers etc.) to live in or near the communities they serve. Given the current salaries teachers receive, how affordable is the city for the median teacher? Comparing the…
Data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics based on a survey of businesses across the country show that a larger share of private sector businesses in D.C. adopted telework, reduced their office space, and moved their offices, compared to the private sector establishments across the entire U.S. Across D.C., 68 percent…
As of January 2022, student ridership on public transit, as measured by Kids Ride Free trips, was 11 percent of pre-pandemic levels (September 2019), according to data from the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Education’s Performance Oversight data for FY21 and FY20.
As of May 2022, total employment in D.C. stood at 766,900—still 38,400 below the pre-pandemic peak of 805,400 in February of 2020. Most of these job losses are in the private sector (37,600 jobs behind pre-pandemic level, accounting for 98 percent of the loss).
Despite a 6 percent decline in employment between 2019 and 2021, total wages earned in the District of Columbia in that same time grew by 7 percent. And, average wages increased by 14 percent—faster than the inflation rate.
Between May 2021 and May 2022, the District’s labor force has grown by nearly 6,000. The labor force, as estimated by the BLS per today’s data release, is at 386,440—still about 14,323 below pre-pandemic levels. The bad news: this is probably due to population loss including the loss of working adults. The good news: the 6,000 increase is recent, perhaps signaling that employment growth will also pick up. The labor force remained virtually flat between May 2020 and May 2021, and of the 6,000 increase almost 15 percent happened in a single month between April and May of 2022.
According to the Internal Revenue Service’s migration data, D.C. lost 15,304 residents and 7,990 tax filers between 2019 and 2020. Pre-pandemic, between 2018 and 2019, D.C. also lost residents and filers, but in the first year of the pandemic, these losses increased greatly. Importantly, 60 percent of the leavers were tax filing units (individuals, couples, or families) that had taxable incomes of $100,000 or more. These are clearly filers with jobs. At the same time, the withholding portion of income tax collections–the income taxes that are directly taken out of paychecks every pay period–is growing at 10 to 11 percent. That means that the wage and salary incomes of District residents are growing despite this loss.
Washington D.C. has long been an expensive city to rent an apartment, but where within the city renting housing is most expensive has changed during the pandemic. In the past three years, the cost of renting an apartment in the District has increased overall by an average of 15.46 percent—but these increases are inconsistent across both apartment size and between the city’s eight wards.
Nationally, enrollment across public and private/not-for-profit postsecondary institutions (including undergraduate, graduate, two-year, and four-year programs) declined by 3.6 percent from Fall 2019 to Fall 2020. D.C.’s enrollment likewise declined, but to a lesser extent.
This week, the Council of the District of Columbia added a subtitle to the FY23 budget with two additional weights to the student funding formula, which would provide additional funds to schools where 40 percent or more of the student population is designated as at-risk, and to schools where 70 percent or…
Remote work is likely here to stay and is breaking the relationship between where we live and where we work. This has implications on the District’s attractiveness, competitiveness, economic growth, and fiscal health. As workers spend less time near their workplaces and more time near their homes, it shifts the geography of…
kindergarten, at a public charter school, or at a DCPS school aside from their in-boundary option. Last week, applicants to the common lottery received their results, which for the first time included an equitable access priority for students who are identified as “at-risk” with 400 applicants matching in this category.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the District has been underperforming relative to the Washington metropolitan area both in employment recovery and the growth of the labor force.
During the first two weeks of March 2022, 36 percent of working-age District residents reported working (or volunteering) outside their homes during the previous week.
According to data recently released by the U.S. Census Bureau, the District’s population fell by around 3 percent in 2021, to 690,093 – a loss of 20,043 residents. Domestic out-migration, or people moving from D.C. to other parts of the country, is the primary source of this decline. While domestic out-migration has been underway since 2018, over 23,000 residents left the city in 2021, setting a record high of the last two decades.
Mayor Bowser submitted her budget to the D.C. Council on Wednesday, March 16 and the budget tables show that the proposed FY 2023 budget (local portion only), set at nearly $10.7 billion, grew by 10 percent from the revised FY 2022 budget. Recurring revenue (money from taxes, non-tax revenue, and the lottery) is at $9.5 billion, showing a growth of 4 percent from FY 2022’s projected revenues. The budget is balanced by $1.2 billion of non-recurring, one-time resources which include the city’s savings from previous years (including the surplus from FY 2021) and federal fiscal aid.
With the rise of teleworking and shifting preferences in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the District of Columbia finds itself at greater risk of losing its young professional population. In the first year of the pandemic, the largest population group that left the District was young adults. Of the residents who moved out of the District in 2020, 54 percent were aged 25 to 34 (margin of error: 0.5 percent).
The pandemic has had a chilling effect on both resident employment and private sector employment in D.C. In the first few months of the pandemic, 37,413 D.C. residents lost their jobs. Since then, we have gained back 26,633 jobs (through December 2021), but we are still behind by nearly 11,000 jobs. Private sector jobs in the city—regardless of the residency of the employee—took a bigger hit. We lost 85,700 private sector jobs and made up for less than half of it. We are still missing 47,700 jobs.
DCPS and public charter schools returned to full-time in-person learning in August 2021, which was a huge shift from the previous school year. At the start of school year 2020-21, 99 percent of students were learning virtually for five days a week, followed by a gradual re-introduction to in-person learning for some students according to D.C. School Report Card data.
We used United States Postal Service data to examine how business move patterns have changed in the post-pandemic era. These data show that business establishments were quick to respond to the pandemic: The net domestic outmigration of business establishments (address changes out of D.C. minus address changes into D.C.) within the first three months of the pandemic (March, April, and May of 2020) was about 3 percent of all private sector business establishments in D.C. at that time.
Newly released audited enrollment data for the District’s public schools (both DCPS and public charter) for school year 2021-22 show that enrollment stands at 94,532 students: almost the same as last year. Enrollment in high school is up by 7 percent, while adult learner enrollment rebounded from last year’s dip, growing by 8 percent. Enrollment in early grades (pre-kindergarten and elementary) declined, continuing last year’s trend.
D.C. employment has not grown in recent months. However, this is not because of lack of job openings. In fact, we are experiencing a historically high level of job openings with an average of 41,000 job openings per month between June and November 2021—that is more than 5 percent of total employment in D.C.. But employment is not growing because employers are slower at hiring new employees, and more people are leaving their jobs at rates faster than we have ever observed.