Unemployment rate on the rise, officials saying it will be a “year to hold your breath”

DELMARVA – The holiday season is in full swing and most people pick up part-time jobs around this time.

However this time around, there might not be as many opportunities. Officials with the chamber of commerce are saying there’s a mix of quitting and not enough openings, while the economy isn’t in the greatest standing.

“Not only is new hiring slowing, especially seasonal jobs, but we’re seeing employers start to lay people off,” says Bill Chambers, the President and CEO of the Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce.

A healthy unemployment rate falls between 4.5% – 5%, according to Chambers. While that rate is on the rise, Bill Christopher with the Dorchester Chamber of Commerce says things remain steady on the shore. “We were still below 5, we’re in the mid 4s which is still relatively low because not that many years ago we were at 6 and 7%,” says Bill Christopher, President of the Dorchester Chamber of Commerce.

He attributes the increased unemployment rate to the state of the economy. “Increasing interest rates tighten the market, which would actually slow things down, slow things down with businesses which means they started serving less customers therefore they have less need, therefore less money to pay employees, as a result, less jobs,” says Christopher.

With the holiday season right around the corner, many employers are not hiring as many seasonal workers simply because they can’t afford it. “Holiday hiring is slow, your big manufacturers, your big stores, and online retailers have all slowed seasonal hiring. This started back in September, it’s not going to change, consumers are not going to be spending at the same they have been in previous holiday periods for obvious reasons,” says Chambers.

At these rates, Chambers says the unemployment rate is only set to get worse. “But the next fed increase and the interest rate will be in December and all projections are pointing towards job losses starting in January about 175,000 a month,” he adds.

Bill Chambers says that will continue for the first quarter of the new year. It doesn’t stop there, job losses are expected to continue for the entire calendar year of 2023.

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