State’s jobless rate rises again

DOVER — Delaware’s unemployment rate rose again in October, the fourth straight month it has increased.

Data released Friday by the Delaware Department of Labor estimates 3.7 percent of the state’s workforce was not employed last month, up .2 percent from September, Delaware’s unemployment level has surpassed the U.S. rate for the first time since December 2017.

The First State’s unemployment rate hit 3.2 percent in April, remaining there for three months before it began climbing again.
The national rate has fluctuated since then but now sits at 3.6 percent, an increase of .1 percent from the month before.

“Unpublished unemployment data from the Delaware Current Population Survey using 12-month averages show that the share of job losers has increased to 75 percent of the unemployed from just under 40 percent one year ago,” Tom Dougherty, the acting chief for the Office of Occupational and Labor Market Information in the Department of Labor, wrote in a commentary released with the numbers Friday.

“The share of job leavers and reentrants who voluntarily enter the pool of unemployed seeking better opportunities has fallen to under 20 percent from just over 50 percent one year ago. The increase in the number of job losers combined with a decrease in voluntary unemployment of job leavers and re-entrants seeking better opportunities could be a sign of labor market weakness in the months ahead.”

Delaware has gained an estimated 6,500 jobs over the past year. That’s an increase of 1.4 percent, equal to the national gain over that same time.

Locally, the unemployment rate was 3.8 percent in New Castle County, 4.2 percent in Kent County and 3.6 percent in Sussex County. Unlike the statewide figure, the county rates are not seasonally adjusted.

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

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