Delaware jobless rate falls to 3.8% in November

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Delaware’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in November was 3.8 percent, down from 3.9 percent in October, the state Department of Labor reported.

The department also reported that the upcoming minimum wage increase will directly affect less than 3 percent of the workforce.

Accordingto the department, 18,700 unemployed Delawareans were reported inNovember, compared to 21,700 in November 2017.

The nation ’s unemployment rate was 3.7 percent in November, unchanged from October. In November 2017 the US unemployment rate was 4.1 percent, while Delaware’s rate was 4.5 percent.

In November, seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment in Delaware was 464,300, up from 464,200 in October.

Since November 2017, Delaware’s total nonfarm jobs have increased by a net gain of 7,200, a rise of 1.6 percent. Nationally, jobs during that period increased by 1.6 percent.

In its monthly commentary, the Delaware Department of Labor took a look at the minimum wage, which is slated to go on Jan. 1 to $8.75

“Since the lowest range is Under $9.25, we cannot say exactly how many workers are currently making $8.25 (including tips for tipped workers). What we can say is that 10 percent of the state’s workers, about 46,000, make $9.41 an hour or less, and that one-quarter, or 115,000, make $12.20 an hour or less,” the department reported.

Using wage distribution surveys, the Labor Department estimates that about 2.8 percent or 13,000 are currently at the minimum wage. The figure would not include student workers, most agriculture workers, or the self-employed.

The number of workers at the minimum goes up whenever the statutory minimum wage is increased, then gradually falls as market forces make the minimum wage less relevant.

Foes of wage increases argue that employers in many cases simply cut hours when the base wage goes up or have to raise pay for those making more than the minimum. The argument has been given less weight due to the current tight labor market.

Past surveys have found that more than half of the workers at the minimum are in the food services industry.

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