Job growth figures a puzzle as unemployment rate remains steady


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Delaware’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in November was 4.3 percent.

That figure has not changed in months as job growth figures continued to gyrate.

After having one of the nation’s fastest job growth rates, Delaware is now seeing employment growth figures below the national average, the Delaware Department of Labor reported in its monthly release.

There were 20,400 unemployed Delawareans in November compared to 23,000 in November 2015. The U.S. unemployment rate was 4.6 percent in November 2016, down from 4.9 percent in October 2016.


In November 2015 the U.S. unemployment rate was 5 percent, while Delaware’s rate was 4.9 percent.

In November 2016, seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment was 460,000 up from 459,700 in October 2016. Since November 2015, Delaware’s total nonfarm jobs have increased by a net gain of 5,500 a rise of 1.2 percent. Nationally, jobs during that period increased 1.6 percent.

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2016-11 MLR

It was the fifth month that the state’s unemployment rate held steady at 4.3 percent.

The overall number of unemployed residents has declined gradually from 22,500 at the beginning of the year to 20,400 in November.

Data from the Unemployment Insurance program backs this up, even though having a UI claim is not required to be counted as unemployed. Weeks claimed are down 8 percent this year.

Meanwhile, estimates of employed residents have been anything but steady.

After reporting record gains would have led to an unprecedented 30,000-job increase in employment, the state saw monthly losses averaging nearly 2,000 a month, close to levels from the recession of 2008-2009, the Labor Department report stated.

“This economy is nothing like that. We expect that when the data are revised in two months, the employment numbers will be more like the unemployment estimate showing more or less steady gains, rather than the current extreme volatility,” the labor market report states.

Last year, saw similar gyrations in job growth figures with retailing showing job losses, despite some store openings. Retailing jobfigures were later adjusted upward.

The figures triggered talk of a sputtering economy by critics of the administration of Gov. Jack Markell. Later, as the figures were adjusted upward, the state earned praise for having one of the strongest jobgrowth rates in the nation.


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