Jobless rate rises to 4.9 percent

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Delaware’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in August rose to  4.9 percent from 4.8 percent  in July 2017 amid signs that the figure could  later  be subject to revision.

Figures from the Delaware Department of Labor listed 23,500 unemployed Delawareans in August compared to 20,500 in August 2016.

The U.S. unemployment rate was 4.4 percent  in August, up from 4.3 percent  in July 2017. In August 2016 the U.S. unemployment rate was 4.9 percent , while Delaware’s rate was 4.3 percent.

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In August 2017, seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment was 457,300 up from 456,300 in July 2017.

Since August 2016, Delaware’s total nonfarm jobs have increased by a net gain of 3,200, a rise of 0.7 percent. Nationally, jobs during that period increased 1.5 percent.

The higher jobless rate has been an area of concern with critics of the current administration pointing to three decades of control of state government by Democrats.

In its analysis, the Delaware Department of Labor held out the possibility that the 4.9 percent figure may not be  accurate.

“Statistically,  the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics)  is 90 percent confident  that the actual Delaware rate is between 4.2 percent and 5.6 percent; both January’s 4.4 percent and the current 4.9 percent fall within that range,” commentary from the  Labor Department  stated. “Likewise, we cannot say that the current rate is above last August’s 4.3 percent with even 90 percent confidence. Statistically,  they are the same.”

The commentatry also noted that  in both 2014 and 2015, Delaware’s unemployment rate rose above the national rate, only to later be revised to a figure below that rate”

The Labor Department noted that some data show weakness and support the case for a rising unemployment rate.

At the same time, the department  noted that  “implausible statistics from the CPS household survey that underlies the official unemployment rate, such as the working-age teen population  falling by one-third two years ago, then increasing by 1,000 a month in the past year are simply noise.”

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