NJ Unemployment Rate Remains At 9%

TRENTON – After six consecutive months of private sector job growth, the state’s unemployment rate was unchanged at 9.0 percent in March. The state’s economy shed 8,600 jobs during the month, according to estimates released today.

The longer term jobs numbers are more positive: since February 2010, which was the low point of private sector employment during the recession, New Jersey private sector employers have added 60,600 jobs.

“The majority of indicators suggest that New Jersey employment growth will continue over the long term, creating a stronger economy for everyone,” said Charles Steindel, Chief Economist for the New Jersey Department of Treasury.

Lower payrolls at private employers (-11,600) were somewhat offset by gains in the public sector which saw employment increase by 3,000 due to gains at the local government level.

Based on more complete reporting from employers, previously released February estimates were revised slightly lower, down by 1,700, to show an over-the-month (January – February) total nonfarm employment gain of 7,000 jobs. Preliminary estimates indicated an over-the-month gain of 8,700 jobs.

In March, employment contracted in seven of ten private sector industry supersectors while three registered gains. Industries that recorded the largest losses included, professional and business services (-4,000), construction (-3,200), education and health services (-1,800), manufacturing (-1,500) and financial activities (-1,400).

In professional and business services, all three components realized lower payrolls over the month: professional, scientific and technical services (-1,900), administrative support/waste management/remediation (-1,800), and management of companies (-300). In construction, less than seasonally expected hiring — probably due to the mild weather which kept projects going through the first two months of the year — resulted in the downward movement.

The loss in education and health services was entirely in the education services (-2,300) segment while the drop in manufacturing was concentrated in the durable goods (-1,700) component. Employment in financial activities was lower in both the finance and insurance (-800) and real estate, rental and leasing (-600) categories.

Small employment gains were evidenced in information (+800), other services (+500) and trade, transportation and utilities (+100). Public sector employment in February was higher by 3,000, due entirely to increases at the local government level (+3,100). Local government employment includes county, municipal and local government education.

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