Delaware’s unemployment numbers refuse to decline, following a year of hundreds of job losses in the state, according to the Department of Labor.
The state’s unemployment rate is now at 4.8 percent—a one-tenth increase from the previous month, according the monthly labor report. The numbers are half a point above the beginning of the year, and a half point above the U.S rate of 4.3 percent.
The report shows there were 2,300 more unemployed Delawareans last month than the same time last year.
The data follows a trend of stagnant unemployment rates over the past several months.
“It’s a continuation of what we’ve been seeing in recent months, which is the economy is somewhat stagnant, not really growing much, but not shrinking either, and it’s one more month of a similar situation,” said state economist George Sharpley.
Delaware is among 19 other states with unemployment rates higher than the national average, and among eight other states with rates above where they were at the end of last year. However, Delaware’s increase is larger than all but two states—Connecticut and Massachusetts.
Sharpley said based on research into stagnant or increasing unemployment over the years, last month’s numbers may or may not be a sign of a national recession.
“A couple examples I cited, we did not follow up with a recession and the economy started growing, but then there were three times there was a national recession that followed, and each of those times the unemployment rate in Delaware had been stable or rising for at least a year, which is right about where we are now,” he said.
“Delaware typically is not the last to go into recession, if anything, we’re a little earlier than most of the country, which means it’s somewhat an open question now where the economy is headed.”
In addition to a non-declining unemployment rate, Sharpley said business surveys show employers aren’t adding jobs at the pace they used to, and GDP accounts also show minimal growth in economic output.