NJ Unemployment Holds At 9% As Economy Added 8,700 Jobs In Feb.

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TRENTON – New Jersey employers added 8,700 jobs in February, the sixth consecutive month of increased payrolls, but the state’s unemployment rate held steady at 9.0 percent according to data released today by the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

“New Jersey employment is now moving up at a well-sustained rate. With over 74,000 new private sector jobs added since 2010, the last year, the number of private sector jobs in the state has reached a three-year high,” said Charles Steindel, chief economist for the New Jersey Department of Treasury. “Over the last six months, New Jersey’s job growth has kept pace with the nation’s. And while we still have work to do to restore full health to our labor market, we are making real progress on that road,”

Preliminary estimates indicate that total nonfarm wage and salary employment in New Jersey moved higher in February, up by 8,700, to a seasonally adjusted 3,892,100, as measured by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) through its monthly employer survey. Hiring by private employers (+9,700) was somewhat offset by cutbacks in the public sector which saw employment decrease by 1,000.

Based on more complete reporting from employers, previously released January estimates were revised lower, down by 4,500, to show an over-the-month (December 2011–January 2012) total nonfarm employment gain of 8,800 jobs. Preliminary estimates indicated an over-the-month gain of 13,300 jobs.

In February, five of ten private sector industry supersectors added jobs, three recorded losses while two were unchanged. Industries adding the most jobs included, professional and business services (+3,700), leisure and hospitality (+3,100), and education and health services (+2,500). The gain in professional and business services occurred entirely in the professional, scientific and technical services component (+3,700). Both components of leisure and hospitality — arts, entertainment, and recreation (+1,200) and accommodations and food services (+1,900) — recorded gains while all of the advance in education and health services was in the health and social assistance segment (+3,300). Smaller gains were registered in financial activities (+1,300), and construction (+1,300).

Employment declines were evidenced in manufacturing (-1,300), information (-800) and other services (-100). The loss in manufacturing was a result of job loss in the durable goods component (-1,500). Public sector employment in February was lower by 1,000.

Over the month, the unadjusted workweek for production workers increased 0.5 hours to 41.6 hours, average hourly earnings were lower by $0.06 to $19.34 and weekly earnings expanded by $7.20 to $804.54. Compared to February of last year, the unadjusted workweek increased by 1.7 hour, average hourly earnings increased by $0.16 and weekly earnings were higher by $39.26.

 


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