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Sen. Carper sees reason for optimism in latest jobs numbers

Delaware Public Media

Senator Tom Carper (D-Delaware) likes what he sees in the just-released jobs reports from the state and federal governments.  Delaware’s unemployment rate fell to 5 percent in January, while nationally some 295,000 jobs were added in February – even though unemployment ticked up to 5.7 percent.

In the First State, the jobless rate is down over a point from one year ago and the state has added Delaware has added more than 8,000 net jobs outside of agriculture since then.

Carper said heavy growth in financial, professional, business, health and hospitality sectors have bolstered small but steady gains in the manufacturing and construction industries - while a falling consumer price index gave people more value for their hard earned money spent.

Delaware’s senior senator was also pleased to hear almost 300,000 jobs were gained nationwide in the last month.

“Even in the middle of winter – and a very rough winter – to add that many jobs is a pretty amazing number and to see the unemployment rate come down that’s encouraging," said Carper.

Carper argues the state and country are on the right track as the economy recovers and America continues to reduce the need for foreign energy imports, but he adds industries remain where the pool of skilled candidates doesn't meet the need - such as cybersecurity - and the work force must better prepare for those high-wage next generation careers.

Carper says the focus needs to be on bridging that gap.

"A lot of folks who maybe had a job skill that was very much in demand 10, 20, 30 years ago - not so much today," said Carper. "And we have to have the ability to help retool people and help people retool - so that they can be available and competitive for the jobs that we need to fill today."

Carper, who has hosted over 40 job fairs with fellow senator Chris Coons and Congressman John Carney, announced the first of their 2015 events to be hosted at Wilmington University's Dover campus on March 23.

Job fairs are also scheduled in Stanton on April 10th and Rehoboth Beach on May 4th. Businesses with positions to fill are being asked to contact Senator Coons' office.