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Delaware unemployment rate ticks up in November

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Delaware’s unemployment rate rose slightly in November after being flat in October. | PHOTO COURTESY OF ERIC PROUZET/UNSPLASH

DOVER – Delaware’s unemployment rate rose 10 basis points in November, compared to a flat national trend, according to state officials.

November saw a loss of 900 jobs, offsetting an identical gain in October, but also the loss of 1,200 more jobseekers in the labor force, 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 November unemployment rate increased to 4.4%, but was still higher than the national average, which was flat at 3.7% last month.

Delaware ranked tied for 48th in unemployment rate among states in November, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data. It has fallen behind New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland, which ranked 24th, 35th and 45th, respectively, at 3.4%, 4% and 4.3%. Utah had the lowest rate of 2.2%, while Nevada 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 21,800 unemployed people last month, an increase of 100 people over October.

The official monthly unemployment figure is created by looking at continuous unemployment insurance claims as well as an 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 3.9%, 4.7% and 4.3%, 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% of workers were unemployed, respectively.

Leading job gains last month was the professional and business services sector, which added 300 jobs, followed by construction and manufacturing, which each added 200. The transportation, trade and utilities sector added 100, and so did unsorted industries.

Those gains were weighed down by the 1,700 job losses in the leisure and hospitality sector, a common occurrence in the seasonally adjusted losses following the conclusion of Delaware’s typical tourism season. The information sector was the only other sector to see losses at 100 jobs.

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