Delaware Public Media

First State unemployment drop in November may be misleading

Dec 22, 2017

Delaware’s unemployment rate dropped again in November, the second straight month it’s moved downward, but the numbers may not be as rosy as they appear.

The First State’s unemployment rate in November was 4.7%,  down slightly from 4.8 % in October and continuing the decline from September when it reached its highest point for the year - 4.9%.

But a closer look shows the drop is not because more jobless Delawareans are finding work, but rather more people have simply stopped looking.

Since September, the number of people unemployed in the First State has fallen by 12 hundred – but the number jobs statewide has also dropped by 900.

The state Department of Labor says it appears that job growth is not keeping up growth in the working age population, noting a separate survey of state employers shows an even steeper decline of 3,000 jobs over the past two months – a trend that survey has seen over the past two years .

That Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Current Population Survey also shows lack of job creation is hitting the African-American community harder than others.  It found that while unemployment for Whites has held steady over the past year and 3.7% and dropped for Hispanics from 5.0% to 3.3%, it’s risen from 6.5%  to 8.1% for African-Americans.

Delaware’s unemployment rate also remains above the nation’s jobless rate, which was 4.1% for November.