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.
D.C. experienced a deeper employment loss compared to the Washington metropolitan area as a whole in May 2020. At that time, employment in D.C. declined by 11 percentage points from January 2020—one full percentage point behind the loss suffered by the Washington metropolitan area. Since then, both areas experienced recovery in jobs, but D.C. has not been able to close that 1 percentage point recovery gap.
Similar trends prevail in the size of the labor force. D.C.’s labor force declined 8 percentage points from January to May of 2020, running 3.5 percentage points behind Washington metropolitan area. D.C. still lags behind the metro area in terms of labor force recovery, but it has closed the gap to slightly under 2 percentage points since those deepest losses at the beginning of the pandemic.