NJ Unemployment Rate Drops To 9.6 Percent

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TRENTON — Monthly indicators of the New Jersey economy showed the state’s unemployment rate for August edged lower by 0.1 percentage point to 9.6 percent. The New Jersey rate was equal to the national rate, which inched higher by 0.1 percentage point over the month. Payroll employment in New Jersey remained essentially unchanged.

According to preliminary estimates, total nonfarm wage and salary employment in New Jersey was higher by 500 jobs over the month to a seasonally adjusted level of 3,845,600. A gain of 3,700 in private sector employment was mostly offset by a decrease in public sector payrolls of 3,200. This was due mainly to the release of temporary workers for the 2010 Census. Private sector payrolls have now expanded for three consecutive months and five times in the last seven months.

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Based on more complete reporting from employers, previously released July estimates show a revised over-the-month (June–July) loss of 18,000 jobs, reflective of an upward revision of 3,200 to reach a total of 3,845,100. Preliminary estimates indicated an over-the-month loss of 21,200 jobs.

In August, five of ten private sector industry supersectors recorded job losses while four registered gains, one was unchanged. In supersectors that showed a decline, the losses were relatively small occurring in information (-1,000), education and health services (-900), manufacturing (-700), construction (-400) and other services (-100). Sizable gains were seen in trade, transportation and utilities (+4,700) and financial activities (+1,300). The increase in trade, transportation and utilities was mainly due to hiring in the retail trade (+2,800) and transportation/warehousing/utilities segments (+1,200). In financial activities, the advance was concentrated in the finance and insurance (+1,300) component. Smaller gains were recorded in professional and business services (+700) and leisure and hospitality (+100). Over the first eight months of 2010 private sector payrolls have increased by 6,300 jobs while the same eight-month period in 2009 saw private sector employment fall by 107,400.

Public sector employment decreased in August by 3,200 jobs led by a drop in employment at the federal government level (-3,900) as more temporary workers hired for the 2010 Census were released.

Over the month, the unadjusted workweek for manufacturing workers was unchanged at 40.4 hours. Average hourly earnings decreased by -$0.05 to $18.80 and weekly earnings were down by -$2.02 to $759.52. Compared with August of last year, the unadjusted workweek was lower by -1.0 hour, average hourly earnings increased by $0.60 and weekly earnings were up by $6.04.


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