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Delaware unemployment remains above national average


DOVER – Delaware’s unemployment rate ticked down 10 more basis points in October and gained about 2,400 jobs, but the gap between the state’s rate and the national average widened, according to state officials.

The 2,400 new jobs essentially offset the losses of seasonal jobs in September and were aided by a gain of about 200 people to the labor force as well, 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 childcare, they are no longer counted as being unemployed in the state. A rising labor force is seen as a positive sign that people are beginning to look for work once again, especially as millions of job openings are available nationwide.

Delaware’s October unemployment rate of 5.3% was significantly higher than the national average though, which sat at 4.6% last month. The gap widened by 20 basis points between months, and Delaware now ranks 32nd overall among states in its unemployment rate, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Nebraska was the lowest last month at 1.9% while Nevada and California tied for the highest rate at 7.3%.

New weekly unemployment claims in the First State totaled 397 in the week ending Nov. 13, virtually the same as the month prior. Fewer than 4,600 people continue to receive assistance though, the lowest rate since the pandemic set in earnest. The number of recipients fell steeply in September after the federal government’s added benefits expired and renewed work-search requirements took hold.

The Delaware Department of Labor’s report, which is taken monthly during the calendar week that contains the 12th day, showed that 25,800 workers were unemployed, a decrease of 500 over September.

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

Nearly 267,000 state workers have filed for unemployment assistance in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and a variety of state and federal programs have tried to help offset some of their losses. Over the now-20-month-long pandemic, state and federal unemployment assistance has paid more than $1.46 billion to Delaware residents.

The state’s three counties saw differing rates of unemployment in October, with New Castle, Kent and Sussex counties reporting rates of 4.5%, 5.2% and 4.1%, respectively – although those statistics aren’t seasonally adjusted, which impacts tourism-based growth in coastal destinations. Wilmington and Dover, the state’s two most populous cities, have seen an even greater impact in job losses, where 6.8% and 7.1% of workers were unemployed, respectively.

The largest monthly job gains came in the trade, transportation and utilities sector, which added 1,500 jobs. Meanwhile, financial activities added 700 jobs, education and health added 500 jobs and the professional and business sector added 300.

Leading job losses was construction and government, each with 200 jobs, followed by manufacturing and leisure and hospitality, which each lost 100 jobs.

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1 Comment

  1. Barbara November 20, 2021

    Their are plenty jobs out there no reason for unemployment another Delaware strategy to keep people on welfare


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