DOVER — Delaware’s unemployment rate was slightly lower than the national figure in June and is inching closer to pre-pandemic amounts, according to a Department of Labor report released Friday.
About 5.8% of Delawareans in the labor force were out of work in June, compared to 5.9% nationally. In February 2020, before the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated closures, the state’s unemployment rate was about 4.5%, and the nation’s was sitting at 3.5%.
Delaware’s unemployment rate generally has decreased since June of last year, when the state was about three months into COVID-19-related shutdowns and subsequent economic impacts. In that month, Delaware’s number was about 13%, and the nation’s was 11%.
Between June and July 2020, the state’s unemployment rate dropped from 13% to a little more than 8%. The number fell to a little less than 6% in October.
Then, from October onward, the figure crept up to more than 6%, before decreasing again in May 2021, when it was reported to be 5.9%.
The Department of Labor reports that the seasonally adjusted nonfarm job rate was 446,500 in June — up from 444,100 in May. Since June 2020, the state’s total nonfarm jobs have increased by a net gain of 22,300, or a rise of 5.2%.
On a national level, the amount of jobs has increased by 5.8% since June 2020.
Kent County continues to have the highest amount of unemployment in Delaware, though the area figures are not seasonally adjusted. The county’s number was 7.7% in June, while Dover’s was 10.7%. That’s compared to New Castle County’s 5.9% rate and Sussex’s 4.4%.
However, the state’s unemployment rates by area have shown improvements since the same month last year, when Kent County’s rate was 14.8%, New Castle’s was 13.4%, and Sussex’s was 12%.
Unemployment in Sussex County remains unchanged from May to June, whereas New Castle County’s rate has grown in a month, from 5.1% to 5.9%. Similarly, in Kent County, May’s unemployment rate was 6.2%, rising to 7.7% in June.
Average weekly earnings are down compared to this time last year. In June 2021, earnings were $928.45 a week; in June 2020, earnings were $930.74 per week.
The trade, transportation and utilities sectors continue to offer the highest percentage of employment in the state, with 19% of the nonfarm work force employed in those areas. That’s followed by education and health at 17%, government at 15% and professional and business services at 13%.