Delaware’s July unemployment rate ended up matching the national jobless figure of 7.4 %.That was according to Delaware Department of Labor figures released on Friday.
At the same time, however, figures showed job growth was advancing at a faster pace than the national rate.
The department noted that two years ago, the national unemployment rate for July was 9 %; last July it was 8.2%, and last month it was 7.4%. The rate for the First State has barely moved, going from 7.6% to 7.3% and now 7.4% during the three months.
Also, claims for unemployment insurance fell at a faster rate than in the nation as a whole. The length of time being unemployed has also fallen faster in Delaware.
Looking at the totality of the data, there is no obvious reason or explanation for that disparity, the release announcing the jobless figures stated.
In July 2013, seasonally adjusted non farm employment was 425,600, up from 422,800 in June 2013. Since July 2012, Delaware’s total non farm jobs have increased by a net gain of 9,400, a rise of 2.2%. Nationally, jobs during that period increased 1.7%.
The unemployment figure seemed certain to continue the debate over what many see as sluggish growth in the state following the 2008-2009 recession. Critics of Gov. Jack Markell claim the administration has focused too much on social issues, such as same sex marriage while putting less emphasis on the economy. Markell has refuted those claims.
Both parties have been taken to task from some in the business community for failing to come up with innovative ideas on economic development.
The Office of the Governor issued the following: “The governor continues to work hard at fostering job growth in Delaware and is seeing success. The current Delaware unemployment rate is down significantly from the post-recession peak of 8.4%, but Gov. Markell is the first to say that there is more to do. Delaware’s job gains have outpaced the nation’s over the past year and recent announcements of new job plans by ILC Dover, Allen Harim, GE Aviation and Capital One, to name a few, are evidence that more jobs are being created in the state.”
“ When Governor Markell took office [in 2009], today there are fewer people in the workforce and there are fewer people employed. That is not the same picture at the national level,” Charlie Copeland, the new head of the state Republican Party told WDDE, the Dover public radio station.
In the past, the state had reported unemployment rates that were a percent or more below national figures.
At the same time, labor market experts have warned against focusing on monthly figures, noting that the rates are subject to future adjustments.
It has been acknowledged that the state is in a pattern of seeing a relatively fast start to the year, followed by a slowdown.