Secrets of the Job Hunt


Friday, June 06, 2008

Jobs in Washington, D.C.: More Than Just Politics

Those looking for jobs in Washington, D.C. may be surprised at the opportunities the area is currently yielding.

According to the Department of Employment Services, there is expected to be an increase of 67,700 jobs, or a 0.9 percent job growth rate per year through 2012. The federal government and professional, scientific and technical industries are projected to grow the most through 2012.

Not surprisingly, the federal government, business and professional services, education, healthcare and other services, mostly non-profit organizations, make up about 70 percent of District employment.

Currently, according to the District of Columbia Employment Predictions, the service sector makes up 90 percent of District of Columbia employment, while the small manufacturing industry continues to decline. The following sectors are expected to increase through 2012:

  • total trade with 2,000 jobs.
  • professional and business services with 27,000 jobs
  • legal services, computer systems design services and management consulting services with more than 11,000 jobs
  • accounting and advertising services with 3,000 jobs
  • professional and business services with 4,400 jobs
  • elementary and secondary education with 2,300 jobs
  • healthcare with 5,000 jobs
  • non-profit sector with 6,000 jobs
  • accomodation and food service with 5,000 jobs

Transportation jobs, excluding public transportation, are expected to slightly decline.

In May 2004, The Washington Post stated that, "Washington region's job market is hopping, adding 60,000 jobs in the year ended in March, on pace with the boom years of 1997 and 1998."

The article noted four out of five new jobs could be attributed to low interest rates created by government stimulus and spending. Federal spending in the region rose by 7 percent in 2003, adding an extra $6.1 billion into the local economy and increasing hiring by government contractors. At the same time, a tax cut put more money into the hands of consumers. Business and professional services firms alone added 21,400 jobs in 2003.

While some areas of employment have been on the rise, there has been little change in most local industries not directly influenced by fiscal or monetary stimulus, according to the Post. Some of these industries include: healthcare and education, telecommunications and other information businesses, wholesaling and distribution, and manufacturing.

As of late, information technology positions also are abundant in the nation's capital. According to an April 2007 article on, Ed Estelle, area manager for IT recruiter Sapphire Technologies/Sapphire Government Technologies, said IT experts are consistently in demand in the private and public sectors.

"There continues to be a very strong demand for, and a significant shortage of, IT talent in the Washington D.C. IT job market," Estelle said. "With 4.5% general unemployment nationally and 2.5% in IT nationally, the real IT unemployment rate in D.C. is probably below 2%. I don't see that trend changing in the near term."

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