Delaware jobless rate sees slight climb

DOVER — For the third month in a row, Delaware’s unemployment rate rose 0.1 percent last month.

The First State’s unemployment rate for September was 3.5 percent, according to data released Friday by the Delaware Department of Labor.

Across the nation, unemployment fell from 3.7 to 3.5 percent, making September the first time in 16 months Delaware’s rate failed to better the national figure.

At 3.5 percent, September had the highest percentage of Delawareans out of work since January.

Despite that, there’s still plenty of good news for 2019: Through the first nine months, the average monthly unemployment rate for the state is 3.3 percent. For a full year, that would be the lowest in 31 years and the first since 2007 — pre-Great Recession — below 3.5 percent.

After falling for the first four months of the year, the unemployment rate in Delaware leveled off for two months before beginning its current climb.

According to a survey of Delaware businesses, the state has gained about 8,000 jobs over the past months. Seasonally adjusted, however, about 4,600 of those came in the past two months, with particular growth in the fields of professional and business services and in leisure and hospitality.

Per the Department of Labor, Delaware’s nonfarm job growth is 1.7 percent, a slight increase from the national rate of 1.4 percent.

The county unemployment rates are 3.8 percent for New Castle, 4.2 percent for Kent and 3.4 percent for Sussex, although unlike the state data, the local levels are not seasonally adjusted.

Unemployment in September 2018 was 3.6 percent for the state and 3.7 percent for the country.

Staff writer Matt Bittle can be reached at 741-8250 or Follow @MatthewCBittle on Twitter.

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