DOVER - The Delaware Labor Report for June indicates that 1,500 jobs were added in the state last month, though weekly wages for workers continue to decline.
The seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment was 419,300, up from 417,800 in May. The gains were due to increases in financial activities - i.e. banking and insurance - and leisure and hospitality.
State economist George Sharpley said the financial activities numbers seem a bit high and suspects the trend will reverse in the coming months.
"I'm not aware of banking or insurance jobs increasing at the pace that this seems to show," he said about the preliminary report.
The year-to-year comparison shows that Delaware has added more than 3,600 jobs since June 2011, a rise of 0.9 percent. Nationally, jobs have risen 1.4 percent during the same 12-month period.
The report attributed the gains to Education and Health at + 2,600, Leisure and Hospitality at +2,200, and Financial activities at +1,600. The largest over-the-year job losses were in Construction at -1,500, and State Government at -800.
But there are some things to note when digesting the labor statistics, Mr. Sharpley said.
For starters, the "education" in Education and Health refers to private institutions - i.e. Wesley College, Archmere Academy, Friends School - not Delaware's public schools. Moreover, Mr. Sharpley said, a large proportion of that gain is due to health care job increases rather than education.
Delaware's public schools - charter schools, the 19 public school districts, University of Delaware, Delaware State University and Delaware Technical Community College - on the other hand are classified under state government, which reported 800 fewer jobs in June.
But that is likely due to student workers at state universities who return home for the summer, Mr. Sharpley said.
The statistics regarding loss of construction jobs is also slightly misleading, he said. According to actual payroll data from 2011, as opposed to survey data like what is used for the monthly labor reports, Mr. Sharpley said the construction industry remained unchanged in 2011.
In fact, he said he believes the construction industry has already hit its lowest point and is now on an upswing in Delaware. For his long term projections, Mr. Sharpley said he estimates that construction jobs will be one of the fastest growing industries in Delaware over the next eight years.
"We definitely seem to be returning to a more normal state of affairs," he said.
Statistics from June's Labor Report also reveal that while jobs were added in Delaware, workers are making less and less weekly wages and hourly earnings.
Data for June show average weekly earnings at $702.58, down from $709.14 in May and 721.71 in June 2011. Average hourly wages declined from $21.62 per hour in May to $21.42 in June. The average hourly wage in June 2011 was $21.87.