TRENTON – Employment in New Jersey improved modestly in October, based on growth in private sector employment. At the same time, the state’s unemployment rate dropped 0.2 percentage point to 9.2 percent, moving further below the national rate, which was unchanged in October at 9.6 percent. Overall, New Jersey’s unemployment rate has trended down throughout 2010 after reaching a recessionary high of 10.0 percent in December 2009.
According to preliminary estimates, total nonfarm wage and salary employment in New Jersey increased by 2,600 jobs in October to 3,830,500. All of the gains were recorded at private sector businesses which added 4,800 jobs with seven of ten industry supersectors recording job gains. Public sector jobholding fell for the fifth month in a row, down by 2,200. The majority of the decline occurred at the federal government level (-1,800) as the last of the remaining temporary workers hired to perform Census 2010 activities were released.
New Jersey private sector employment has stabilized this year when compared to the steep declines experienced in 2009. Over the first 10 months of 2010, private sector payrolls have increased slightly, up by 1,500 jobs while the same ten-month period in 2009 saw private sector employment fall by 111,000.
Based on more complete reporting from employers, previously released September estimates show a revised over-the-month (August–September) loss of 16,100 jobs, after an upward revision of 4,100 for a total employment level of 3,827,900. Preliminary estimates had indicated an over-the-month loss of 20,200 jobs.
Of those industries that saw an October increase in employment, two had noteworthy job gains: professional and business services (+2,700) and financial activities (+1,600). Companies in the professional and business services sector mainly provide support services and expertise to other businesses. Overall, employment in professional and business services is up by 8,400 jobs in the past year (October 2009 – October 2010). In financial activities, the majority of the gain was in the finance and insurance component (+1,500) boosted by hiring at banks and mortgage companies.
Other job gains in October were more modest and spread amongst several industries: trade, transportation and utilities (+600), information (+600), manufacturing (+500) education and health services (+500) and leisure and hospitality (+400). The only industry sectors to record losses were other services (-1,300) and construction (-800).
Public sector employment fell for the fifth month in a row, down by 2,200 jobs. The majority of the loss was at the federal government level (-1,800). State government payrolls also were lower in October, down by 1,200, while local government was up by 800.
Over the month, the unadjusted workweek for manufacturing workers increased by 0.2 to 40.6 hours, average hourly earnings increased by $0.02 to $18.73 and weekly earnings were up by $4.56 to $760.44. Compared with October of last year, the unadjusted workweek was lower by 1.1 hour, average hourly earnings increased by $0.82 and weekly earnings were up by $13.59.
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