NJ Unemployment Rate Edges Higher Even Though 2,600 Jobs Added In April

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TRENTON – Even though preliminary estimates indicate New Jersey added 2,600 jobs in April, the state’s unemployment rate edged up by 0.1 percentage point to 9.1 percent, signaling that more people are actively looking for jobs.

Employment in New Jersey increased in April for the seventh time in the last eight months, according to the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development, which also announced that preliminary March estimates were revised upward. Over the year, April 2011 – April 2012, total nonfarm employment in New Jersey has increased by 39,600 jobs.

Based on more complete reporting from employers, previously released March estimates were revised higher, up by 4,900 jobs, to show an over-the-month (February – March) total nonfarm employment loss of 3,700 jobs. Preliminary estimates indicated an over-the-month loss of 8,600 jobs.

“In just one month, we came within 1,000 jobs of completely reversing the March decline in private-sector employment,” said Charles Steindel, chief economist for the New Jersey Department of Treasury. “The number of New Jersey residents working is at a three-year high with over 71,000 private sector jobs added since February 2010. These numbers are consistent with continuing job growth.”

Steindel continued, “While the rate edged up, it’s due to improvement in the labor market with New Jersey’s labor participation rate climbing to 66 percent. This stands in contrast to the national figure which dipped in April.”

Job gains at private employers (+6,300) were somewhat offset by contraction in the public sector which saw employment decrease by 3,700.

In April, private sector job gains were posted in four of ten industry sectors; four recorded a loss while two were unchanged. Industries that registered larger gains included professional and business services (+5,400), education and health services (+2,600), and financial activities (+1,300). The gain in professional and business services was due to increased hiring at employment services and firms that provide services to building and dwellings.

In education and health services the majority of the gain was in the health care and social assistance segment (+2,000). The advance in financial activities occurred in the real estate, rental and leasing component (+1,100). Losses occurred in manufacturing (-1,400), information (-900), construction (-600), and trade, transportation and utilities (-200). The loss in manufacturing was entirely due to contraction in the non-durable goods category (-1,800).

In April, public sector employment was lower by 3,700 due entirely to a decrease at the local government level. Local government employment includes county, municipal and local government education workers.

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