Unemployment rises slightly in Delaware

DOVER — Delaware unemployment rose slightly from 4.9 percent in September to 5.1 percent in October, according to the monthly report released by the Department of Labor on Friday.

Despite reaching the same unemployment rate as last December, the number of residents with jobs has increased by 10,700.

In this sense, Delaware has remained ahead of the national trend because the U.S. labor force participation has decreased even as it increased in Delaware.

“The national rate and state rate are going different directions for opposite reasons,” said George Sharpley, chief of the state Office of Occupational and Labor Market Information.

“Nationally, people are dropping out of the workforce while in Delaware the number of people looking for jobs and the number of available jobs are growing at just about the same rate.”

Although the unemployment rate in Delaware matches that of December 2014, over the last 12 months (since October 2014), the unemployment rate has decreased in each county.

Sussex County saw the largest decrease over 12 months — 5.3 percent to 4.9 percent. Kent County follows, decreasing from 5.7 percent to 5.5 percent and New Castle County comes in third decreasing from 5.1 percent to 5.0.

“I don’t think these small changes are any indication of weakness,” Dr. Sharpley said.

Although the state’s monthly labor report usually is a good indication in changes in the economy,the results come from a survey, not formal payroll data.

Payroll data is used for the annual report to make adjustments and for the 2013 and 2014 reports, the changes reported in monthly reports were wiped away by the end-of-year adjustments.

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