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Center for Economic Policy & Analysis

A Delaware Economic Profile

Dr. John E. Stapleford, Policy Director | 8/26/2020

The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) maintains “Stats America” with profile data on each state. How has Delaware been performing according to the EDA?
Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP): Between 2015-2019 Delaware's Real GDP declined 4.2%, the worst performance among all the states.
By industry, Delaware’s output trailed all the states in (a) wholesale trade-loss of automobile and chemical industry manufacturing, (b) information services, (c) and professional, scientific, and technical services-DuPont Company downsizing.
Personal Income: Adjusted for inflation, Delaware's per capita personal income went from a rank of 8th among the states in 1989 to a rank of 22nd in 2019…recording the slowest increase in per capita income growth of all the states.
For the 5-year change in total, Delaware ranked 18th in personal income, 24th in net earnings, 29th in dividends, rent, interest, and 8th in transfer payments. In other words, the strongest performing component of Delaware personal income has been transfer payments (e.g., Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, TANF).
Employment: Over 10 years, 2009-2019, Delaware's total employment has increased 1.3% per year and the average wage has gone from 5% above the nation to 1% below. As one measure of the COVID effect, between July, 2019 and July, 2020, the increase in total Delaware private employment registered 42nd among all the states.
Other miscellaneous data trends of note include: 
  • Delaware ranks last among the states in the percent change in patents between 1996-2016
  • Delaware ranks 13th among the states in 2019 for total bankruptcies per 1,000 persons
  • Delaware ranks 15th among the states in 2018 for the percent of households with a computer
  • Delaware ranks 16th among the states in state and local government revenue per person from own sources and 9th in expenditures per person
The shut-downs mandated by the State government to combat COVID obviously add to Delaware’s economic struggles. The latest data from the State records 604 total deaths from COVID, of which two-thirds have occurred among residents of long-term care facilities. In other words, the joint probability of a person not in a nursing home getting and then dying from COVID is 0.02%.


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