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News Release Information

Wednesday, May 06, 2020


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Unemployment on the Delmarva Peninsula by County – December 2019

Unemployment Rates in 9 of 14 Counties Declined Over the Year

In March, Worcester County, MD, had the highest unemployment rate on the Delmarva Peninsula at 9.3 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that 9 of the 14 Delmarva Peninsula counties had jobless rates higher than the 4.5-percent U.S. average. The five remaining counties had jobless rates ranging from 4.2 percent in Kent, MD, to 3.0 percent in Queen Anne’s, MD. (See chart 1. All data in this release are not seasonally adjusted; accordingly, over-the-year analysis is used throughout.)

Nine of the 14 counties on the Delmarva Peninsula had unemployment rate declines from March 2019 to March 2020, with the largest decrease in Somerset, MD, at 0.7 percentage point. (See table A.) Four area counties had jobless rate increases over the year, all of which exceeded the U.S. rate increase of 0.6 percentage point. The fastest increase was in Kent, DE, at 1.6 points from March 2019 to March 2020.  One county in Virginia—Northampton—had a rate that was unchanged over the year.

Table A. Unemployment rates for the United States, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and counties on the Delmarva Peninsula, not seasonally adjusted

Unemployment rates Change from
Mar 2018
Mar 2020(1)
Mar 2019
Mar 2020(1)

United States

4.1 3.9 4.5 0.4 0.6


4.1 3.7 5.0 0.9 1.3


4.4 3.9 5.5 1.1 1.6

New Castle

3.8 3.4 4.7 0.9 1.3


4.4 4.2 5.4 1.0 1.2


4.1 3.7 3.5 -0.6 -0.2


4.2 4.0 3.5 -0.7 -0.5


4.7 4.4 3.8 -0.9 -0.6


5.8 5.3 5.1 -0.7 -0.2


4.8 4.4 4.2 -0.6 -0.2

Queen Anne's

3.6 3.4 3.0 -0.6 -0.4


7.6 6.5 5.8 -1.8 -0.7


4.3 4.0 3.6 -0.7 -0.4


5.9 5.1 4.8 -1.1 -0.3


10.0 9.5 9.3 -0.7 -0.2


3.2 3.0 3.3 0.1 0.3


4.6 4.0 4.8 0.2 0.8


6.8 5.7 5.7 -1.1 0.0

(1) Data for Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and counties on the Delmarva Peninsula are preliminary for the most recent month.


Unemployment rates in 10 of the 14 Delmarva Peninsula counties in March 2020 were lower than in March 2018. Somerset County, MD, had the largest two-year jobless rate decrease (-1.8 percentage points). Four area counties had unemployment rate increases—three of which were larger than U.S. rate increase of 0.4 point. Kent County, DE, had the fastest increase at 1.1 percentage points over the two-year period.

The Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment news release for April is scheduled to be released on Wednesday, June 3, 2020, at 10:00 a.m. (EDT).

Technical Note

This release presents unemployment rate data for states and counties from the Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) program, a federal-state cooperative endeavor.

Definitions. The labor force and unemployment data are based on the same concepts and definitions as those used for the official national estimates obtained from the Current Population Survey (CPS), a sample survey of households that is conducted for the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) by the U.S. Census Bureau. The LAUS program measures employment and unemployment on a place-of-residence basis. The universe for each is the civilian noninstitutional population 16 years of age and over. Employed persons are those who did any work at all for pay or profit in the reference week (the week including the 12th of the month) or worked 15 hours or more without pay in a family business or farm, plus those not working who had a job from which they were temporarily absent, whether or not paid, for such reasons as labor-management dispute, illness, or vacation. Unemployed persons are those who were not employed during the reference week (based on the definition above), had actively looked for a job sometime in the 4-week period ending with the reference week, and were currently available for work; persons on layoff expecting recall need not be looking for work to be counted as unemployed. The labor force is the sum of employed and unemployed persons. The unemployment rate is the number of unemployed as a percent of the labor force.

Methods of Estimation. The LAUS program is a hierarchy of non-survey methodologies for indirectly estimating employment and unemployment in states and local areas. Statewide data are produced through a modeling technique that uses estimates of payroll jobs from the Current Employment Statistics survey and unemployment insurance claims counts from the state workforce agencies to mitigate volatility in the direct CPS tabulations of employment and unemployment, respectively. Data for counties are developed through a building-block approach and adjusted proportionally to state model-based totals. For multi-county areas, such as the metropolitan areas and metropolitan divisions delineated by the Office of Management and Budget, estimates are summed from the data for their component counties. Estimates for cities and towns are produced through a disaggregation technique. A detailed description of the LAUS estimation procedures is available in chapter 4 of the BLS Handbook of Methods at

Annual revisions. Labor force and unemployment data for prior years reflect adjustments made at the end of each year, usually implemented with January estimates. The adjusted estimates reflect updated population data from the U.S. Census Bureau, any revisions in the other data sources, and model reestimation. All substate estimates are reestimated and adjusted to add to the revised model-based estimates.

The Delmarva Peninsula, located on the east coast of the United States, comprises Delaware and portions of Maryland and Virginia. The Delmarva Peninsula includes Kent, New Castle, and Sussex Counties in Delaware; Caroline, Cecil, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s, Somerset, Talbot, Wicomico, and Worcester Counties in Maryland; and Accomack and Northampton Counties in Virginia.

Information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (202) 691-5200; Federal Relay Service: (800) 877-8339.


Last Modified Date: Wednesday, May 06, 2020