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Delaware unemployment rate stagnant in June

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Delaware’s unemployment rate, as well as the national rate, has been unmoved for four months now. | PHOTO COURTESY OF ERIC PROUZET/UNSPLASH

DOVER – Delaware’s unemployment rate was unmoved for the fourth consecutive month in June, matching the national trend despite adding 2,600 net jobs, according to state officials.

June’s job gains add to more than 3,400 jobs created since February, and Delaware added 400 more jobseekers to continue pushing its record-high labor force over half a million, 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 child care needs, they are no longer counted as being unemployed in the state.

Delaware’s June unemployment rate remained at 4.5%, and was still significantly higher than the national average, which also stalled at 3.6% for the fourth straight month.

A year ago, Delaware’s rate was lower than the national average, but the state has since steadily fallen behind in its recovery. It ranked tied for 45th in unemployment rate among states in June, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data. It has fallen behind Maryland and New Jersey, which ranked tied for 39th and 35th at 4% and 3.9%, respectively. Pennsylvania was tied with Delaware at 4.5%. Minnesota had the lowest rate of 1.8%, while New Mexico had the highest at 4.9%.

The Delaware Department of Labor’s report is taken monthly during the calendar week that contains the 12th day. The state recorded 22,700 unemployed last month, an increase of 100 people over April.

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.

The state’s three counties saw differing rates of unemployment in June, with New Castle, Kent and Sussex counties reporting rates of 4.9%, 6% and 4%, 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 7.2% and 8% of workers were unemployed, respectively.

The largest monthly job gains came in the leisure and hospitality sector, which added 1,400 jobs last month after adding 1,000 in May, heading into the busy summer season. It was followed by the professional and business services sector, which added 1,100 jobs; education and health care, which added 600; government, which added 400; and the information, manufacturing and transportation, trade and utilities sectors, which added a combined 300.

Leading job losses was unsorted industries, which lost a total of 700 jobs, followed by construction, which lost 300, and financial activities, which lost 200.

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