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Delaware Boasts the Highest Post-Recession Growth in the Northeast

Updated December 7, 2016
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Original article from Philly.com

Fifteen U.S. states have AAA credit ratings: allowing them to borrow money at a low interest rate from the U.S. Treasury.

Only one of the AAA states is run by Democrats. That’s Delaware, where Gov. Jack Markell, a onetime Nextel and Comcast manager, has spent the last eight years grappling with issues Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders raised in this year’s presidential race: the collapse of heavy industry and hometown corporations that used to pay solid family wages.

Delaware companies now employ 455,000, up from 429,000 on the eve of the 2008-09 recession, and 392,000 at its worst.

That’s the highest post-recession growth in the Northeast, notes Mark Turner, a Republican who heads WSFS Corp., the state’s biggest bank, and the Delaware Business Roundtable, a corporate lobbying group.

“Delaware’s in a great spot. And I give a ton of credit to the governor,” says Turner.

Markell says education programs will make the most long-term difference in keeping Delaware in business, like the three-year-old “Pathways to Prosperity,” which has put 6,000 high school kids in tech-college classes leading to manufacturing, bioscience, and other job-readiness certifications.

Markell also praised Zip Code Wilmington, the state-backed, corporate-funded coding bootcamp program that investor Ben du Pont and marketing guru Jim Stewart helped establish in Wilmington.

Investments in education, 21st century job skills, and low corporate tax rates. Is positioning the first state as pro-business and pro-jobs, which will drive the economic engine into the foreseeable future.

feature image: iStockPhoto/tkacchuk

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