Jobless rate falls but 1 in 8 Delawareans out of work

DOVER — Delaware’s unemployment rate fell 3.4% in June. Unfortunately, one out of every eight Delawareans belonging to the labor force remains unemployed.

According to data from the state and federal labor departments released Friday, Delaware’s unemployment rate last month was 12.5%, clearly illustrating the devastating impact of COVID-19. Nationally, 11.1% of job-seeking Americans were out of work in June, down from 13.3% the month before.

The unemployment rate for both the state and country this time last year was 3.7%.

Although Delaware’s unemployment rate declined last month, that’s small comfort considering the May mark of 15.9% was a record. Delaware has lost 49,000 jobs over the past 12 months, with a significant chunk of those coming in the fields of leisure and hospitality.

Prior to this year, the state’s highest unemployment rate on record was 9.8% in 1976, the first year job statistics for the state are available. During the Great Recession, the First State’s lowest point was 8.8%.

The unemployment rate rose from 3.9% in February to 5.1% in March, the largest month-to-month increase since September 1990, before skyrocketing to 14.9% in April.

Delaware’s first coronavirus case was announced March 11, and businesses were under serious restrictions by the end of the month, with residents urged to remain at home.

In June, according to the data, the state’s labor force consisted of nearly 488,000 Delawareans. Sixty-one thousand did not have a job.

The average weekly earnings for employees in the private sector fell about $24 or 2.5% from May to June, although pay is still up compared to June 2019.

The June unemployment rates for New Castle, Kent and Sussex counties, respectively, are 12.8%, 14.1% and 11.5%. However, unlike the state rate, the county figures are not seasonally adjusted.

The national unemployment is the highest it has been since the Great Depression. The Federal Reserve last month predicted unemployment will be around 9% at the end of the year.

Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

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