Delaware unemployment dips to 5% as gap widens with national figure


Delaware’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in December dipped to 5%, down from 5.1% in November as job growth remained well below national figures.

The Delaware Department of Labor listed  24,600 unemployed Delawareans in December compared to 28,200 in December 2020.

Delaware’s jobless rate remained above the national unemployment rate of 3.9% in December, down from 4.2% in November 2021.

In December 2020, the nation’s unemployment rate was 6.7%, while Delaware’s rate was 5.9%.

In December 2021, seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment was 453,500, up from 452,200 in November 2021. Since December 2020, Delaware’s total non farm jobs have increased by 11,900, a rise of 2.7%. Nationally, jobs during that period increased 4.6%.

 The last time Delaware’s unemployment rate was at or below 5% was March 2020 when the unemployment rate was 4.8%. Delaware finished the year with 11,900 more jobs than one year ago.


Unemployment rates are subject to adjustments this time a year as more detailed payroll information from employers supplements initial estimates.

In December, the leisure & hospitality sector  was up 5,800 jobs over-the-year, while wholesale & retail trade as well as the construction industry increased 2,300 jobs over-the-year. professional & business services and manufacturing were down 1,300 and 500 jobs over-the-year, respectively.

Despite, the state’s higher-than-average  jobless rate, employers are facing a shortage of workers, even in unskilled positions. Early retirements, an aging population and the expiring child care tax credit are believed to be among the factors behind the labor crunch.

Neighboring Mid-Atlantic states have also seen jobless rates above the national average. 

In his State of the State address this week, Gov. John Carney announced $50 million in job training funds in an effort to narrow the gap between available jobs and qualified applicants.