Kent County, Del. Lags in Delaware Job Growth - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Kent County, Del. Lags in Delaware Job Growth

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DOVER, Del. - Kent County, Delaware is lagging behind neighboring counties with regard to job growth, according to preliminary figures from the Delaware Department of Labor. 

In 2015, Kent County gained only 560 jobs---an increase of 0.9%. By comparison, Sussex County's job growth was 4.1%, and New Castle County saw growth of 1.8%. 2015 is the second consecutive year the Kent County has trailed the state's other two counties.

Job growth was the focus of the annual Kent County Economic Summit at Delaware Technical Community College Tuesday. The Kent County Economic Development Director isn't too concerned about the recent trend of slow job growth as he focuses on existing business.

 "I think the future is really bright for Kent County. I think job creation comes with the expansion of existing business and other businesses see that this is a good place to do business then new jobs will come in as well," said James Waddington, Kent County Economic Development Director.

Delaware labor officials say government and healthcare are two of the biggest employers in the county and they have not had significant growth of late. There's also no single industry driving job growth.

Dover is the county's biggest city and it boasts hundreds of jobs at its Kraft-Heinz plant, but the mayor says job growth may move away from manufacturing.

"A lot of the jobs we've taken on through Mission Barbecue, Big Lots where we've had them open, and Burlington Coat Factory, and a number of entities that have come here will be service jobs," said Robin Christiansen, Mayor of Dover.

At least one downtown Dover shop owner likes the idea of more service jobs in the area.

"If you bring a home goods, a Marshall's, a Cheesecake Factory out here, not only will you create more jobs but more awareness to the fact that Dover is growing in other areas. That will trickle down to small businesses such as myself," said Tammy Parris, owner of Parris Nail Lounge.

 

Economists at the state labor department indicate job growth is cyclical, so there may not be any real reason for concern in Kent County.

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