Report: Delaware’s post-pandemic job recovery remains weak

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WalletHub’s  Changes in the Unemployment Rate by State, shows Delaware ranking toward the bottom in its nemployment growth.

WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia based on six key metrics that compare unemployment rate statistics from the latest month when data is available (December 2022) to key dates in 2022, 2021, 2020 and 2019.

WalletHub is a financial information website.

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Best Change in UnemploymentWorst Change in Unemployment
1. Florida42. Connecticut
2. South Dakota43. Ohio
3. Missouri44. Michigan
4. Utah45. District of Columbia
5. North Dakota46. Maine
6. Minnesota47. Washington
7. Montana48. Delaware
8. Alabama49. Illinois
9. Georgia50. Oregon
10. Hawaii51. Nevada

Delaware’s job recovery has ranked near the bottom coming out of the Covid-19 pandemic with its unemployment rate at 4.4% in December., one of the highest rates in the nation. The nearby states of Pennsylvnia and Maryland, which had also seen sluggish job growth have recovered somewhat and are no longer in the bottom tier.

At the same time, the state has experienced shortages in many job categories like the remainder of the country.

Reasons for the state’s performance remain unclear, although the Delaware Department of Labor reported the participation – people working or looking for a job – has declined to an historically low level.

Also, employers have reported people not showing up for interviews or once hired not making it to their first day of work.

The report included a Q&A on its findings. (See below).

What are unemployment predictions for 2023?

“The U.S. economy is expected to grow very little in 2023. This would lead to a jump in unemployment to as high as 4.6 percent, according to the Federal Reserve. Both of these things would be signs of the Fed continuing to try and get a handle on inflation,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub Analyst. “If this ‘worst-case scenario’ comes true, it could mean that millions of people who now have jobs could wind up unemployed.”

How does the threat of labor strikes affect the economy?

“The threat of labor strikes might have an interesting effect on the economy. With increasing support for unions, workers are now more likely to earn better pay and workplace benefits. This could lead to a reduction in things like stagnant wage growth and poor job quality for workers,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub Analyst. “However, improved working conditions might come at a cost to the consumer, leading to overall economic slowdown. Strikes may also make inflation even worse, as the supply lines will get further disturbed.”

What qualities should unemployed people look for when choosing which businesses to apply to?

“The biggest thing that unemployed people should look for when choosing which businesses to apply to is compensation that’s appropriate for their field and skill level. Since there is currently an employment shortage, workers are in a great position to negotiate a worthwhile compensation package,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “Other desirable features are the ability to work from home at least part of the time, measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, a positive and friendly workplace environment, and a short commute.”

Is there a big difference in the unemployment rate among various demographics?

“The unemployment rate does differ sharply among different demographics. The unemployment rate for white people is 2.9%, while it’s much higher, at 5.3%, for Black people. The racial disparity is troubling, especially in the context of broader discussions of inequality that have taken place in the past year,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “The unemployment rate can fluctuate a lot by age, too; it’s only 2.3% for those ages 45 to 54, but 7.3% for people ages 20 to 24. It makes sense that people who have been in the workforce longer would have more job stability, but we should be concerned about the difficult conditions faced by young people.”

Which state has experienced the biggest increase in unemployment vs. the previous month?

“Minnesota has experienced the biggest increase in unemployment because the number of unemployed persons jumped by 9% from November 2022 to December 2022, compared to the average increase of 0.4%,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “Minnesota’s overall unemployment rate is 2.5%, compared to the average of 3.5%.”

Which state has experienced the biggest decrease in unemployment vs. the previous month?

“Maryland has experienced the biggest decrease in unemployment because it has seen a 7% decrease in the number of unemployed persons from November 2022 to December 2022, compared to the average increase of 0.4%,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “Maryland’s overall unemployment rate is 4%, compared to the average of 3.5%.”

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