Delaware’s great recession and great reshuffling

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Good afternoon,

An entity known as the Economic Innovation Group continues to look into the shifts we have seen in the Delaware economy since 2007.

Their study of distressed areas aptly describes this painful period that it dubbed the “Great Reshuffling” that followed the “Great Recession.” The study shows a combination of population shifts, plant closings and other factors led to profound changesin Delaware and elsewhere

Even with the jobless rate in Delaware dropping to 3.2 percent (See story in this newsletter) the feeling remains that something is not quite right. The report comes with two findingsthat explain the way many feel these days.

On one hand, economic conditions appear to have improved in all three counties that are now rated as “prosperous” economies.

Sussex County, thanks in part to in-migration from retirees and to some extent medical professionals, retailing and other services serving seniors, has seen a marked improvement in economic conditions. A smaller improvement is apparent in Kent County.

Not all is rosy in Sussex. Incomes remain below the national average and affordable housing is a problem.

New Castle County has seen a drop of more than 500 in the number of businesses, as well as a decline in the percentage of prosperous zip codes.

Two other troubling developments in New Castle Countyinvolve an increase in the percentage of residents without a high school diploma, a slightly higher poverty rate and the percentage of vacant housing remaining above seven percent.

Now for some good news. The Distress index runs from 2007 to 2016. The past couple of years have seen an uptick in the Delaware economy at a time when some other areas are seeing signs of a slight slowdown.

At the same time, the index comes with sobering stats on many communities around the nation that never recovered at all from the downturn.

On the other end of the spectrum, some communities have turbocharged economies with high education levels that lure companies. The result is bigger bonuses and paychecks that Delaware can only dream about.

Enjoy a warmer Monday and this stretch of summer-like weather.

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