DC in healthier financial shape than projected at start of pandemic

D.C. is taking its financial temperature and finding that it is healthier than what was projected at the start of the pandemic.

Unemployment claims are still higher than they were before the pandemic began, but hiring is coming back as D.C. added more than 14,000 jobs in December, according to a new report from the District’s Office of the Chief Financial Officer.

“We’ve lost visitors and sales tax revenue. But our property tax and our income tax have not been as badly affected as predicted last year,” Mayor Muriel Bowser said in a news conference Monday.

Given the grim projections for this year issued months into the pandemic, Bowser said that she is pleased that the city is in better financial shape than expected.

“That said, we still don’t have people at work in our downtown. We still don’t have our nightlife and entertainment fully open and hospitality fully open. We need to get beyond this virus so that all of those things can be enlivened again,” she said.

The economic and revenue trend report found commercial office vacancies rose 13% from December 2019, and hotel stays in December 2020 were 78% below what they were a year before.

“Some people haven’t had any impact on their finances. And some people have been totally obliterated by this pandemic financially … Because it’s uneven, we haven’t been as impacted because it hasn’t been an across-the-board loss for people,” Bowser said.

The industries hit hardest have seen the biggest job cuts, including hospitality and food service, which were both down more than 33% below December 2019 levels.

Read the full report here.

More Coronavirus news

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

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