Delaware unemployment rate continues fall in July
DOVER – Delaware’s unemployment rate continued a slow but steady fall of 20 more basis points in July, with the state adding jobs in nearly every sector, according to state officials.
The state added 3,900 jobs last month, adding to June’s gain of 2,400, and added 300 more workers back to the labor force after adding 1,600 two months ago, 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. The rise in the labor force is a sign that as the pandemic’s effects are easing, as more people may be preparing to re-enter the workforce as opportunity allows.
Delaware’s July unemployment rate of 5.6% ends a short run of the state’s rate being above the national average, which sat at 5.4% last month. The First State ranked 33rd out of all states in unemployment rate in July, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
New weekly unemployment claims in the First State fell to 343 in the week ending Aug. 14, the lowest weekly haul since the pandemic began and a several months since the state Department of Labor began requiring job search activity for continued benefit payments. About 16,000 people continue to receive assistance, also the lowest rate since the pandemic virtually began.
The Delaware Department of Labor’s report, which is taken monthly during the calendar week that contains the 12th day, showed that 27,200 workers were unemployed, a decrease of 1,200 over June.
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, who only became eligible for assistance under a special federal program established under the CARES Act.
More than 260,000 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-17-month-long pandemic, state and federal unemployment assistance has paid more than $1.41 billion to Delaware residents.
The state’s three counties saw differing rates of unemployment in June, with New Castle, Kent and Sussex counties reporting rates of 5.6%, 6.8% and 4.3%, 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 8.8% and 9.2% of workers were unemployed, respectively. Both cities saw substantial gains over June though.
The largest monthly job gains came from the leisure and hospitality sector, which added 1,000 jobs, and the transportation and utilities subsector, which added 800. Meanwhile, professional and business services added 700 jobs after losing 900 the month prior. Financial activities added 300 jobs while construction and government each added 200.
Only manufacturing reported job losses in July, shedding 100 jobs in durable goods production.