Jobless rate hits 6.8% in Delaware


The Delaware unemployment rate fell to 6.8 percent in October, marking the first time the jobless figure has fallen below 7 percent since the end of 2008. The figures  were released Friday by the Delaware Department of Labor.

After years of little change, the unemployment rate dropped from 7.3 to 6.8 percent in the space of two months. At the same time, the jobless rate is roughly double percentage reported during strong economic times in the state.

During the period, the number of employed state residents has increased by 1,550, and the number unemployed has decreased by 2,260. Over the same two months, a separate business establishment survey has shown an increase of 4,100 jobs. From October 2012 to October 2013, the business establishment survey is up by 8,800 jobs, while resident employment is down by 4,000.

Full payroll data for all firms show a gain of 7,300 jobs from June 2012 to June 2013, mirroring the business establishment number. Nationally, a similar split exists, with jobs at businesses up by 2,329,000 since last October, while the number of employed U.S. residents has increased by only 240,000.

George Sharpley, economist and chief for the Delaware Department of Labor,  said he had been anticipating a decline in the jobless rate, but was surprised that the upturn had not occurred earlier. The rate of employment growth in Delaware matches the national figure of 1.7 percent . For a time, the rate of job growth in Delaware was running below the national figure.  Sharply noted that the national gain includes fast-growing economies in North Dakota, Texas and other states.

“The monthly drop is good to hear but improving Delaware’s economy is not a sprint – it’s a marathon toward sustained job growth,” Gov. Jack Markell stated.  ”We are working hard every day to provide more opportunities for Delawareans who want to work to find fulfilling employment. I am the first to say that we still have a ways to go and we won’t stop our efforts to create more jobs.”


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