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Delaware unemployment rate dips in September

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Delaware’s unemployment rate has been steadily falling for more than a year. | PHOTO COURTESY OF ERIC PROUZET/UNSPLASH

DOVER – Delaware’s unemployment rate fell 20 basis points in September, breaking a one-month increase in August and matching the national trend, according to state officials.

That decline wasn’t necessarily the result of added jobs though. September saw 2,900 job losses, breaking a streak of seven consecutive months of added jobs, and the loss of 500 jobseekers, 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 July unemployment rate fell to 4.3%, but was still higher than the national average, which also fell 20 points to 3.5%.

Delaware ranked tied for 46th in unemployment rate among states in September, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data. It has fallen behind Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey, which ranked 44th, 38th and 23rd at 4.1%, 4% and 3.3%, respectively. Minnesota had the lowest rate of 2%, while Illinois had the highest at 4.5%.

The Delaware Department of Labor’s report is taken monthly during the calendar week that contains the 12th day. The state recorded 21,300 unemployed people last month, a decrease of 1,900 people over August.

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 September, with New Castle, Kent and Sussex counties reporting rates of 3.7%, 4.4% and 3.5%, 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 5.2% and 6.1% of workers were unemployed, respectively.

The largest monthly job losses came from leisure and hospitality, which lost 1,800 jobs at the end of the summer season. It was followed by government, which shed 1,200 jobs; the professional and business services sector, which lost 700; manufacturing, which lost 100, and the transportation, trade and utilities sector, which also lost 100.

Leading job gains was education with 600 jobs ahead of the start of the fall semester, followed by unsorted industries, which added 300, and construction, which added 100.

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