Delaware jobless rate up a tenth of a percent as signs of a mild slowdown appear

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Delaware’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in August 2019 was 3.4 percent, up from 3.3 percent in July.

The Delaware Department of Labor says the state is seeing a mild slowdown, but nothing akin to the deep recession of 2008 and 2009. A bright spot is teen employment, with a much lower jobless rate for female teen workers.

The state reported 16,600 unemployed Delawareans in August 2019 compared to 17,700 in August 2018.

The US unemployment rate was 3.7 percent in August 2019, unchanged from July. In August 2018 the US unemployment rate was 3.8 percent, while Delaware’s rate was 3.7 percent.

In August 2019, seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment was 466,000, up from 464,500 in July 2019.

Since August 2018, Delaware’s total nonfarm jobs have increased by 5,600, a rise of 1.2 percent. Nationally, jobs during that period increased by 1.4 percent

In its monthly commentary, the Labor Department noted that in August, The number of unemployed residents rose above 16,000 for the first time since March, to 16,600, while the number of residents with jobs fell for the first time this year (last month’s tiny decrease was revised to a tiny increase).

The August decline in employed residents stands as the biggest drop since 2009 but is nowhere near on par with that period, Delaware’s current economy appears to be experiencing a mild slowdown, but nothing like the meltdown ten years ago.

One relative bright spot has been the experience of teenagers in the state’s labor market. Their unemployment rate of 5.7 percent over the past 12 months is less than half the national rate of 12.8 percent.

More teens participate in the local job market, as well. Teen labor force participation is 37.6 percent in DE; in the US it is 34.9 percent.

Male teens are more likely to be unemployed, with a 7 percent rate in Delaware vs. 4.7 for females, but the real divergence occurs among ages 20-24. Males in that age group in Delaware have a 10.1 percent unemployment rate, while for females it drops to 1.9 percent. The causes for the disparity are unclear, the department reported.

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