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Year-over-year joblessness in the Washington area ticked up in March, the first monthly statistical report since the significant employment decline related to the COVID-19 pandemic began to take hold.

The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics reported April 29 that the Washington region’s jobless rate of 3.3 percent in March was up from 3.2 percent from a year before, and represented 3.5 million in the civilian workforce and about 114,700 looking for jobs.

Washington was among 253 of the nation’s 389 metropolitan areas to post year-over-year jobless increases, a percentage that is sure to surge further when April figures are released. A total of 123 metro areas had lower year-over-year joblessness in March, with 13 areas unchanged.

Nationally, the non-seasonally-adjusted jobless rate of 4.5 percent was up from 3.9 percent a year before.

Two Hawaii localities – Honolulu and Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina – shared the nation’s lowest metro-area jobless rate in March at 2.1 percent. El Centro, Calif., had the highest joblessness, at 20.5 percent.

Of the 51 metro areas with a million or more residents, the best jobs picture was in Oklahoma City, at 2.5 percent, with the highest unemployment rates reported in Cleveland (7.3 percent) and Las Vegas (6.7 percent).

Among Virginia localities outside the D.C. area, all posted slightly higher year-over-year joblessness. For the state as a whole, the unemployment rate of 3.3 percent was up from 3 percent a year ago, and represented 4.44 million in the civilian workforce and 146,400 looking for jobs.

The April jobs picture by metropolitan area should be reported in late May.

For full details, see the Website at www.bls.gov.

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