Chart of the week: ‘Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services’ is the only subsector where employment is now above pre-pandemic levels

July 01, 2022
  • Yesim Sayin
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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).

So far, the only subsector that has fully recovered and exceeded pre-pandemic peak employment is Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services: this subsector, which accounts for 16 percent of all employment and 23 percent of all private sector employment in D.C., lost about 3,400 jobs in the first four months of the pandemic, and since then, added 4,600 jobs.

Every other subsector is still behind the pre-pandemic peak. For most other sectors, the pattern has been a steep loss between February and June of 2020, followed by continuous recovery. One major exception is education services, which continued to experience losses through May of 2021, largely driven by lackluster employment in higher education through the first full academic year of the pandemic. Employment in this subsector is still 9 percent behind pre-pandemic levels.

The subsectors that largely make up the local service economy are still lagging. Employment in arts, entertainment, and recreation is about 24 percent behind the pre-pandemic peak; employment in leisure and hospitality is 19 percent behind, and employment in retail trade is 11 percent behind.


Yesim Sayin

Executive Director
D.C. Policy Center

Yesim Sayin is the founding Executive Director of the D.C. Policy Center.

With over twenty years of public policy experience in the District of Columbia, Dr. Sayin is recognized by policymakers, advocates and the media as a source of reliable, balanced analyses on the District’s economy and demography.  Yesim’s research interests include economic and fiscal policy, urban economic development, housing, and education. She is especially focused on how COVID-19 pandemic is changing regional and interregional economic interdependencies and what this means for urban policy. Her work is frequently covered in the media, including the Washington Post, the Washington Business Journal, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, WAMU, and the Washington City Paper, among others.

Before joining the D.C. Policy Center, Dr. Sayin worked at the District of Columbia Office of the Chief Financial Officer leading the team that scored the fiscal impact of all legislation the District considered. She frequently testified on high profile legislation and worked closely with the executive and Council staff to ensure that policymakers fully understand the fiscal implications of their proposed legislation. Yesim also has worked in the private sector, and consulted with international organization on a large portfolio of public finance topics.

Yesim holds a Ph.D. in economics from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, and a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and International Relations from Bogazici University, located in Istanbul, Turkey.