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Delaware unemployment rate flat in October

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Delaware’s unemployment rate was flat in October, defying the national trend. | PHOTO COURTESY OF ERIC PROUZET/UNSPLASH

DOVER – Delaware’s unemployment rate was unchanged in October, bucking a slight increase in the national trend, according to state officials.

October saw 900 job gains, reverting September’s job losses, but also the loss of 200 more jobseekers in the labor force, according to the monthly report released Friday morning.

The labor force captures not only workers and those receiving unemployment benefits, but also those in search of work who aren’t receiving assistance. As workers stop seeking work, for a variety of reasons ranging from retirement to child care needs, they are no longer counted as being unemployed in the state.

Delaware’s October unemployment rate remained at 4.3%, but was still higher than the national average, which increased 20 basis points to 3.7% last month.

Delaware ranked tied for 43rd in unemployment rate among states in October, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data. It has fallen behind Pennsylvania and New Jersey, which ranked 44th, 37th and 25th at 4 % and 3.5%, respectively, but has moved ahead of Maryland, which dropped to a tie for 47th at 4.5%. Minnesota and Utah had the lowest rates of 2.1%, while Nevada had the highest at 4.6%.

The Delaware Department of Labor’s report is taken monthly during the calendar week that contains the 12th day. The state recorded 21,700 unemployed people last month, an increase of 400 people over September.

The official monthly unemployment figure is created by looking at continuous unemployment insurance claims as well as a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics survey of residents on their employment status. It tracks not only those receiving benefits, but also those who are ineligible, such as terminated employees, those who have resigned and the self-employed, who only became eligible for assistance under a special federal program established under the CARES Act.

The state’s three counties saw differing rates of unemployment in October, with New Castle, Kent and Sussex counties reporting rates of 4%, 4.8% and 4, respectively – although those statistics aren’t seasonally adjusted. Wilmington and Dover, the state’s two most populous cities, have seen an even greater impact in job losses, where 5.5% and 6.5% of workers were unemployed, respectively.

Leading job gains last month was the leisure and hospitality sector, which added 700 jobs. It was followed by financial services, which added 400; education and health, which added 300; and construction, which also added 300.

The largest monthly job losses came from professional and business services sector, which lost 500 jobs, while manufacturing lost 100 and the transportation, trade and utilities sector also lost 100. Unsorted industries lost another 200.

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