You often hear it said that it's hard to know you're in a recession while dwelling in the District of Columbia. The work of the government goes on, the metropolitan area is highly affluent, etc., etc. At dinner last night a friend said he has to get out of town to observe the economic hardship that the country's going through--no longer a recession, to be sure, but a very anemic recovery. The hard times are invisible here, he said. I agreed.

Imagine my surprise, then, to learn today that unemployment in the District (11 percent) is actually higher than the national average (9 percent). Apparently there's plenty of joblessness to observe without venturing beyond the Beltway. My friend and I must not be hanging out in the right neighborhoods.