District's Unemployment Dips

James Wright | 8/8/2012, 11:47 a.m.

Ward 5 residents, King said, are the intended beneficiaries, but he's not surprised that a number of job seekers came from Ward 8.

"I guess they walked on over here," he said.

Ward 8 resident Victor White came to the job fair for a simple reason.

"I came here to get a job and support my kids," said White, 42. "There are not too many jobs in D.C."

White, who said he worked for Mama's Kitchen in Southeast until a few weeks ago, has not filed for unemployment insurance. He said he wants to work in Costco's warehouse or operate a forklift.

Rickysha Harris, who also lives in Ward 8, came to the job fair "looking for a job" and "will take any type of work."

"The job market is not good at all," said Harris, 18. "I would like to be a server but I will work any position as long as it's a job."

Harris pointed to a few people around her who were family and friends, all looking for work at Costco. She holds a GED and would like to go to Spelman College in Atlanta.

"I hope that Costco will help me go to college," she said.

One of the most interesting aspects of the city's unemployment picture is the number of professionals and clerical workers who are jobless or underemployed. The June jobs report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and DOES, said that professionals and business services sectors gained 2,400 jobs after a 1,200 job loss in May.

On the other hand, leisure and hospitality dropped 900 jobs in June, according to the Bureau's report, after a gain of 1,300 jobs in May. These mixed reports in mainly white and pink collar jobs have created an uneasy situation for many District residents.

King said that he's working closely with Gray's "One City-One Hire" initiative and with the office of D.C. Council member Kenyan McDuffie (D-Ward 5) to ensure that resumes and employment information of the job seekers gets into the city's employment database. King also said that he will monitor the construction of the Costco and the rest of the Dakota Crossing project to make sure that D.C.-based workers and businesses are included.

King said the efforts of Michele Hagans, the developer for Dakota Crossing, cannot be ignored.

"She sold the land to Costco and we are grateful for her work," he said. "She has played a role in bringing Big Box retailers to this project. This is a great day for Ward 5."