No change in Delaware’s unemployment rate

DOVER — The unemployment rate in Delaware remained at 4.7 percent in July, according to the state labor review.

The U.S. unemployment rate also held steady at 5.3 percent, unchanged from June.

The monthly review, released Friday, said that the 550 residents who joined the labor force are almost evenly split between those who are newly employed and those who are still looking for work.

The state’s labor force has grown every month in 2015, state economist George Sharpley said, averaging 1,093 more people a month.

People enter the work force for a number of reasons. Some may move to the state for employment.

Many are returning to the labor force to look for work as the economy begins to improve; then there are graduates 22dsn July Labor Report breakoutwho are starting their first jobs.

While the number of new entrants has held fairly steady, the number of people returning to the work force has started to drop — an indication that the state has started to absorb them.

In the monthly review, Dr. Sharpley also looked at the people who left the labor force and stopped looking for work.

While residents who stop looking for work are no longer counted as unemployed, the Bureau of Labor Statistics still captures information on them.

Out of the 280,900 state residents who are not counted as employed or unemployed, 14,900 say they want a job, but are not looking — down from 17,700 one year ago.

The majority said they had not looked for work in over a year.

“There are a variety of reasons for this, including discouragement…but it is clear that ‘unofficial’ and official unemployment are both down this year,” Dr. Sharpley wrote in the review.

“Some people have been saying ‘Yes, the unemployment rate’s gone down,’ but they’re attributing it to people dropping out of the workforce and not looking for work anymore,” he said.

“I wanted to see if that’s the case, and it really isn’t.”

“It does not appear that people are just giving up,” he added.

“In fact, it’s the opposite. People that have given up for the summer are coming back.”

Dr. Sharpley also looked at part-time workers who are hoping to find full-time jobs.

Over the past 12 months, while part-time employment has increased from 97,600 to 94,100, the number of people who’d rather be working full-time has dropped.

In July, the number of people who are working part-time for “economic reasons,” hoping for a full-time job, was 18,700 — 19.2 percent of all part time workers.

The number had dropped three percentage points in the past 12 months, from 20,800. The percentage reached 24.5 percent in 2013.

As the labor force has grown, the number of employed residents has also increased every month, averaging 1,325 more people.

The number of unemployed residents has been less consistent, falling for first four months of the year and then rising the last three.

According to the review, seasonally-adjusted nonfarm employment was 445,200 in July, up from 445,000 in June.

One year ago in July 2014, the state jobless rate was 5.8 percent, while the national rate was 6.2 percent.

There were 22,000 unemployed residents in July this year, compared to 26,200 in July 2014.

Since July 2014, the state has gained 8,700 jobs, a rise of 2 percent. Nationally, jobs during that period increased by 2.1 percent.

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