The News Journal reported today that “Delaware’s economy added 2,000-plus jobs in February”. Let’s see what the Department of Labor said in it’s release:
In February 2011, seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment was 414,800, up from 412,000 in January 2011. The over-the-month increase of 2,800 jobs was mainly due to increases in Leisure and Hospitality, and Retail Trade.
Reading a bit further along in the DOL’s monthly employment report, however, and the story changes a bit. According to DOL, Delaware’s civilian labor force increased from January 2011 to February 2011 by 800 jobs. There is a difference between civilian and non-farm employment. The civilian labor force is a bigger number because it incorporates farming, Delaware’s largest industry.
For the purposes of a broad review of economic trends, I think that it is better to look at the whole economy rather than just a non-farm… That being said, the news is actually positive for Delaware. Not great, but at least positive. Employment is up, and more importantly for the long term, there were more job seekers — which is often a sign that more people have decided to look for work — implying that they are more optimistic that work is available. So, there is good news here. Let’s just not over-spin it.