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Delaware unemployment report meets national average

Katie Tabeling

Delaware’s unemployment rate now sits at 3.9%, the same as the national average. | PHOTO COURTESY OF ADOBE STOCK

DOVER – Delaware’s unemployment rate now matches the United States’ average, with hundreds of jobs added back to the market in the last month, according to state officials.

April saw a gain of 2,100 jobs and the loss of 700 jobseekers in the labor force, according to the Delaware Department of Labor monthly report released on May 17. Delaware’s total labor force dropped slightly to 506,300.

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 unemployment rate mirrors the nation’s average at 3.9%. But for the First State, the unemployment rate slightly rose from last March and closed the gap between the state and nationwide average by an average of 10 basis points.

The Delaware Department of Labor’s report is taken monthly during the calendar week that contains the 12th day. 

There were 19,800 unemployed Delawareans in April 2024 in all, slightly above where the state stood in April 2023. But it was also a slight drop of 200 people over March.

The official monthly unemployment figure is created by looking at continuous unemployment insurance claims as well as the 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.

Delaware’s ranking among states has held steady in the last couple of months. The First State now sits at 34th overall for April, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data. It is tied with Michigan. Still, Delaware trails some neighboring states like Maryland and Pennsylvania. 

For the month of April, Pennsylvania remained at 3.4%, rising to 25th. Though it fell three places behind, Maryland still enjoys one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation, tied at 5th place with New Hampshire. Both states have 2.5%. Delaware is still ahead of New Jersey, which placed at 46th, with an unemployment rate of 4.7%.

California continues to have the highest unemployment rate at 5.3%. In total, 35 states either matched the national average or had lower unemployment rates in April. Both North Dakota and South Dakota tied for the lowest unemployment rate at 2%.

Delaware’s three counties saw differing rates of unemployment in April with New Castle, Kent and Sussex counties reporting rates of 3.6%, 4.2% and 3.8%, respectively. However, those statistics are not seasonally adjusted. 

Wilmington and Dover, the state’s most populous cities, have seen a greater impact in job losses. Wilmington reports 5.5% of workers are unemployed, a slight drop from March. Meanwhile Dover reports a rise in its unemployment rate, bringing it to 6%.

Leading job gains last month were the professional and business services, which added 600 jobs. The leisure and hospitality added 400 jobs, followed by the construction sector which added 300 jobs. The government saw 200 jobs, while manufacturing, trade and transportation, financial activities and private education and health each added 100 jobs.


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