TRENTON- Employment in New Jersey fell in July and the state’s unemployment rate edged up to 9.7 percent. The loss was mainly due to a decline in public sector payrolls at the federal and local government levels. The state’s unemployment rate rose by 0.1 percentage point in July, the first monthly increase since reaching a recessionary high of 10.0 percent in December 2009.
According to preliminary estimates, total nonfarm wage and salary employment in New Jersey was lower by 21,200 jobs in July to 3,841,900. The vast majority of the employment loss occurred in the public sector, which was down by 18,100 jobs over the month. Private sector jobholding was lower as well, falling by 3,100.
Based on more complete reporting, previously released June estimates show a downward revision of 3,700 in nonfarm employment to a total of 3,863,100, an over-the-month (May-June) loss of 5,600 jobs. Preliminary estimates indicated an over-the-month loss of 1,900.
In July, five of ten private sector industry supersectors recorded job losses while four registered gains; one was unchanged. Declines occurred in professional and business services (-2,300), construction (-1,700), and leisure and hospitality (-1,300). The decrease in professional and business services was driven by contraction in the administrative support, waste management/remediation (-3,600) component which overshadowed gains in professional, scientific and technical services (+1,100). Construction employment was lower for the third time in the last four months due to weakness in the residential construction segment. In leisure and hospitality, job advances in the arts, entertainment and recreation component (+4,100) did not offset losses in accommodation and food services (-5,400). Smaller losses were seen in manufacturing (-900) and trade, transportation and utilities (-500).
The only industry supersector with a sizeable job gain was other services which added 2,500 jobs. This supersector includes businesses such as automotive repair services, personal care services and business/professional organizations. Lesser gains were recorded in education and health services (+700), financial activities (+200) and information (+200).
Over the month, public sector employment was lower by 18,100, led by a 14,700 drop in employment at the local government level. Local government includes county, municipal and local government education employees. Contributing to the loss was the separation of more temporary workers hired for 2010 Census activities which reduced federal payrolls by 3,600.
Over the month, the unadjusted workweek for manufacturing workers was unchanged at 40.5 hours. Average hourly earnings decreased by -$0.09 to $18.85 and weekly earnings were down by -$3.64 to $763.43. Compared with July of last year, the unadjusted workweek was lower by -1.0 hour, average hourly earnings increased by $0.55 and weekly earnings were up by $3.98.
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