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Delaware unemployment holds steady in May

Katie Tabeling
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Delaware’s unemployment rate now sits at 3.9%, slightly below the national average. | PHOTO COURTESY OF ADOBE STOCK

DOVER – Delaware’s unemployment rate continues a close chase with the national average, but the First State still reported a loss of 800 jobs in the past month.

May saw a loss of 800 jobs as well as the loss of 700 job seekers in the labor force, according to the Delaware Department of Labor monthly report released on June 21. Delaware’s total labor force slipped to 505,600 people.

Delaware’s unemployment rate continues to hold at 3.9%, unchanged from the previous month. But the nation’s unemployment rate rose to 4%, a bump of 10 basis points from April 2024. For the last year, the United States’ unemployment rate has hovered around 3.4%.

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.

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

There were 19,900 unemployed Delawareans in April 2024. Five hundred people have been added to that category since last month as Delaware recorded 19,400 unemployed citizens.

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.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the U.S. economy added 272,000 jobs in May 2024, a better than predicted report.

Delaware’s three counties saw differing rates of unemployment in May with New Castle, Kent and Sussex counties reporting rates of 3.8%, 4.4% 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 5.7% of workers are unemployed, a a jump from the previous month. Dover continues to see the state’s highest unemployment, with a rate of 6%.

Leading job gains last month was financial services, which added 400 jobs. Professional and business services added 100 jobs, as did private education and health.

Leisure and hospitality saw the greatest loss of 600 jobs, followed by trade and transportation and government at 300 jobs, each. Construction and manufacturing each shed 100 jobs.

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