Where Stimulus Is Working: Jobs Up, Unemployment Down in Washington Metro Area

By Terence P. Jeffrey | May 6, 2011 | 1:25 PM EDT

President Barack Obama outlines his plan for dealing with the federal debt at George Washington University in Washington, April 13, 2011. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

(CNSNews.com) - The $787 billion economic stimulus law that President Barack Obama signed in February 2009 may not be doing much to create jobs nationwide at this point—with the unemployment rate now at 9.0 percent compared to 8.2 percent when Obama signed the law—but it does seem to be working in at least one place: the Washington metropolitan area.

For more than a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (a division of the U.S. Department of Labor), the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area has been experiencing a downtrend in unemployment. The area’s unemployment rate hit its post-recession peak at 6.9 percent in January 2010 and dropped to 5.8 percent in March 2011, the latest month reported for metropolitan areas.

In fact, the Washington metropolitan area now has the second lowest unemployment rate of any large metropolitan area in the country.

“The lowest jobless rate among the large areas [with populations of 1 million or more] was recorded in Oklahoma City, Okla., 5.2 percent, and Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, D.C.-Va.-Md.-W.Va., 5.8 percent,” said an April 27 report from BLS.

The Washington metropolitan area also ranks fourth nationally for the overall number of new jobs added over the past 12 months. “The largest over-the-year employment increase in the metropolitan divisions was registered in Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas (+53,400), followed by Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, Ill. (+44,800), New York-White Plains-Wayne, N.Y.-N.J. (+39,200), and Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, D.C.-Va.-Md.-W.Va. (+29,000),” reported the BLS.

Thirty percent of the new jobs in the Washington metropolitan over the past year were created directly by government with government employing an additional 8,700 in the area this March as compared to last March, according to BLS.

According to the BLS, government employment in the Washington metropolitan area has increased by 105,700 jobs over the past decade and by 27,700 jobs just since January 2009 when President Barack Obama was inaugurated president.