Delaware’s pandemic job recovery, while improved in short term, still trails nation

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Delaware fared better than much of the nation in new jobless claims but is lagging in the overall employment recovery from coronavirus.

The weekly WalletHub unemployment report showed Delaware ranking 18th in its jobs recovery from Covid-19 in the short term. However, the overall recovery has been slower with the state ranking 34th. Showing the weakest short-term performance were Kansas and Florida, with Kentucky and New Jersey showing the strongest short term gain.

WalletHub noted tat the Covid-19 pandemic has now been a drag on the U.S. economy for nine months, with a rise in jobless claims coming with the new year. The nation is now coping with a surge in Covid-19 cases.

Delware is now reporting an average of 700 or more cases a day, up sharply from the 100 reported during the a portion of the summer.

New unemployment claims increased week-over-week on January 4, up 23 percent from the previous week.

Source: WalletHub

On a weekly basis, WalletHub compares the 50 states and the District of Columbia across three metrics. To see the states most impacted since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, click here.

blankIn related news, the Delaware Department of Labor reported that state and federal job benefits paid out by the department is approaching $1 billion. (See accompanying graphic.

Concern is growing that the employment recovery since late March has run out of steam. At the same time, the impact act of CARES Act funding has worn off.

Governors have been reluctant to take stronger actions to fight the virus by in adding more business restrictions, due to the economic damage caused by such moves. Governors in the region, including Delaware’s John Carney, did order earlier restaurant and bar closings over the holidays. Carney has since lifted the restrictions.

Congress passed and President Donald Trump signed a $900 billion stimulus bill that is expected to add a modest boost to the economy, with a temporary $300 a week benefit for the unemployed and $600 checks to most Americans.

Another factor hampering the economy is the slow rollout of Covid-19 vaccine.

How could the fact that vaccine rollout is slower than expected affect unemployment?

“Since vaccine rollout is slower than expected, that could slow the reduction in the unemployment rate this year. Without having most of the population vaccinated, we can’t achieve a full recovery, which means businesses will continue to not be able to hire in full force,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “If we can put more resources into achieving widespread vaccination, we can expect to make bigger strides in reducing unemployment. We should be concerned with educating people on the benefits of getting vaccinated, too, so that a higher percentage of the population will choose to receive the vaccine.”

President-elect Joe Biden plans to introduce a $1.9 billion, stimulus bill the American Rescue Plan that will focus on funding mass vaccinations, adding another $1,400 check for most Americans.

Another indicator of Delaware’s job outlook will come around the 20th of the month when state’s release their December unemployment rates. Recent reports have shown Delaware’s jobless rate to be below the national figure.

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