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Delaware unemployment rate flat in December

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Delaware’s unemployment rate has been flat for three months now. | PHOTO COURTESY OF ERIC PROUZET/UNSPLASH

DOVER – Delaware’s unemployment rate remained flat for the third consecutive month in December, but the state’s number of jobseekers continues to push record highs, according to state officials.

December saw a gain of 100 jobs and the addition of 1,000 jobseekers in the labor force, according to the monthly report released Friday morning. The 511,100 continues to push a new record for the state’s labor force, including workers and jobseekers, eclipsing the half million mark for the seventh consecutive month.

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 December unemployment rate of 4.2% was the same as November, and the gap between the national average remained 50 basis points at a rate of 3.7%.

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 100 people over November.

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.

The state’s three counties saw differing rates of unemployment in November, with New Castle, Kent and Sussex counties reporting rates of 3.5%, 4.1% and 3.9%, 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 5.4% and 5.2% of workers were unemployed, respectively.

Leading job gains last month was the trade, transportation and utilities sector and the education and health sector, both of which added 400 jobs. They were followed by government, which added 300; financial activities, which added 100; and unsorted industries, which also added 100.

Leading job losses in the last month of the year was the professional and business services sector, which cut 800 jobs. It was followed by construction, which shed 300; and manufacturing, which cut 100.

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