Skip to main content

In May 2022, total employment in DC was 766,900, still 38,400 below the pre-pandemic peak of 805,400 in February 2020. Most of these job losses are in the private sector (37,600 jobs behind the pre-pandemic level, i.e. 98% of the loss).

So far, the only subsector that has fully recovered and surpassed the pre-pandemic employment peak is professional, scientific and technical services: this subsector, which accounts for 16% of all jobs and 23% of all private sector jobs in DC, lost about 3,400 jobs in the first four months of the pandemic, and since then an additional 4,600 jobs.

All other subsectors are still behind the pre-pandemic peak. For most other sectors, the trend was a sharp loss between February and June 2020, followed by a continued recovery. A major exception is education services, which continued to suffer losses through May 2021, largely due to lackluster employment in higher education in the first full academic year of the pandemic. Employment in this subsector is still 9% below pre-pandemic levels.

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