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Delaware unemployment falls with national average

Katie Tabeling

Delaware’s unemployment continues to slowly move down, following the national averages.| DBT PHOTO BY KATIE TABELING

DOVER – Delaware’s unemployment rate continues to march in a downward trend and matching the national average, according to state officials.

March saw a gain of 600 jobs and the loss of 1,100 jobseekers in the labor force, according to the Delaware Department of Labor monthly report released on April 19. Delaware still continues to hold record high employment, with 507,100 people in the labor force.

There were 20,000 unemployed Delawareans in March 2024 in all, compared to 19,500 in March 2023.

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.

As the United States unemployment rate sits at 3.8%, Delaware’s unemployment rate for March clocked in at 3.9%, falling again from the previous month. It also has a narrow gap from the national average of just 10 basis points.

In recent months, Delaware’s ranking among states has improved. The First State now sits at 3rd overall for March, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, but still trails some neighboring states like Maryland and Pennsylvania. 

For the month of March, Pennsylvania remained at 3.4%, sitting at 27th. Though it fell three places behind, Maryland still enjoys one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation, now at 35th overall with 2.5%. Delaware is still ahead of New Jersey, which placed at 48th, with an unemployment rate of 4.8%.

California now has the highest unemployment rate at 5.3%. In total, 35 states either matched the national average or had lower unemployment rates in March.

The Delaware Department of Labor’s report is taken monthly during the calendar week that contains the 12th day. The state ­recorded 20,700 unemployed people in March, an increase of 400 people over February.

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.

Delaware’s three counties saw differing rates of unemployment in January, with New Castle, Kent and Sussex counties reporting rates of 3.8%, 4.5% and 4.1%, 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 5.6% of workers are unemployed, while Dover reports a 5.9% unemployment rate.

Leading job gains last month were the trades and transportation sector, adding 500 jobs. It was followed by the private education and health sectors which added 400 jobs. Construction and government also saw job gains, each adding 200 jobs.

Leading job losses in March were leisure and hospitality which cut 400 jobs. It was followed by unsorted industries which saw a loss of 100 jobs.


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