D.C.'s Unemployment Rate One of the Nation's Highest | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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D.C.'s Unemployment Rate One of the Nation's Highest

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The DC unemployment rate is one of the highest in the nation, and it just got even higher.

The bureau of labor statistics reports a spike in the district's jobless rate from 11.1 to 11.4 percent in the last month. 10-thousand jobs were lost.

Joe Walsh, director of the District's employment services says the number reflects a loss triggered by the end of the Summer Youth Employment Program, and he adds there's a larger systemic problem.

"The other piece is that cities have a higher concentration of poverty than anywhere else in the country, and you have a higher number of people who are more vulnerable to these dramatic downturns in the economy than anyplace else," said Walsh.

John Fenwick has a different take. An unemployed hospital worker, Fenwick says he's witnessed city and federal jobs going to people outside of the district.

"They're not getting first bid for the jobs and they're shutting down government services to bring in these 3rd party administrators and contractors to handle that and they're from out of state, have their own set of employees and what happens is D.C. residents are getting shut out of the job market," Fenwick said.

Although the District's numbers are not as high the 15.3 percent rate in Michigan, it does top the current national average which stands at 9.8 percent.

Elliott Francis reports...

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