WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- The economy and jobs will be an important part to this election. Jessica Doyle took a look at our local jobs picture - and it's pretty good compared to the rest of the country.
At 5.5 percent, the Washington Metro Area continues to have the lowest unemployment rate of the nations major job markets. Unemployment was down all over.
Northern Virginia came in at 4.3 percent -- down from 4.8 percent in August of last year.
Suburban Maryland stood at 6.0 percent -- down from 6.2 percent.
Washington, D.C. experienced a big drop -- 8.8 percent -- down from 10.4 percent.
Things look good right now, but they may not in a couple of months.
An employment time bomb is ticking in the Washington area: sequestration. We are talking about that package of massive federal spending cuts that will trigger if Congress doesn't come to some sort of a budget deal. A lot of job could be lost and Washington area defense contractors would be Ground Zero.
The latest is the White House is again asking defense contractors to stop warning their workers about potential layoffs. So much so that now the "Office of Management and Budget" says the government will cover the legal costs for any contractors that might face lawsuits if they lay off workers without giving them a warning. Basically, the administration is asking these companies to ignore their liability to workers. There is also potential liability with investors who own stock in these companies. The OMB says it's too speculative right now. Republicans say this is playing politics in battleground states like Virginia.
Economists have not stopped warning about the potential crating that could happen to the local job market. Virginia could stand to lose 65,000 defense-related jobs alone. Maryland projects it could lose almost 13,000 jobs. George Mason University economist Stephen Fuller estimates sequestration could put 2.1 million jobs at risk next year alone.