TRENTON – Private sector employers in the Garden State added 30,900 workers to their payrolls in December, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), marking the state’s largest single monthly employment gain since the current practice of calculating total nonfarm employment began in 1990.
The federal agency’s preliminary data also shows 46,100 private sector jobs were added between December 2011 and December 2012, marking the largest over-the-year private sector job gain in New Jersey in more than a decade.
Private sector employers in New Jersey have added 103,200 jobs since February 2010, the low point of private sector employment during the recession, according to the preliminary federal data, which also shows that 2012 was the state’s third consecutive year of private sector employment growth.
All of that positive news barely made a dent in New Jersey’s unemployment rate, which fell by 0.1 percentage point, to 9.6 percent from a revised estimate for November of 9.7 percent. (November’s preliminary unemployment rate was initially reported to be 9.6 percent by the BLS, but was revised upward.) The overall U.S. unemployment rate was 7.8 percent in December.
“With December marking the single greatest job gain since 1990, we’re seeing the state begin to recover from the blow delivered by Sandy. While we still have work to do, the sustained job growth we saw over 2012 and December’s strong showing certainly makes it clear that New Jersey is moving into 2013 on a very positive note,” said Charles Steindel, Chief Economist for the New Jersey Department of Treasury.
Preliminary monthly estimates released by BLS indicate that New Jersey total nonfarm employment increased by 30,200 jobs in December, to a seasonally adjusted total of 3,922,600 as measured by the BLS through its monthly employer survey. All of the gains were recorded in the private sector (+30,900) of the state’s economy. Public sector employment fell by 700.
New Jersey’s labor participation rate also increased for a third consecutive month in December, reaching 66.2 percent, compared to the national rate of 63.6 percent.
Based on more complete reporting from employers, previously released November estimates were revised lower, down by 2,400 jobs, to show an over-the-month (October – November) total nonfarm employment loss of 10,500 jobs during the period super-storm Sandy devastated New Jersey. Preliminary estimates had initially indicated an over-the-month loss of 8,100 jobs.
A preliminary over-the-year analysis shows that from December 2011 – December 2012, employment in New Jersey was higher by 48,000 jobs, with the majority of the gains recorded by private sector employers (+46,100). Public sector employment was up by 1,900 over the year.
This marks the largest over-the-year private sector job gain since December 1999 – December 2000 (+64,500). Moreover, this is the third consecutive year that New Jersey recorded private sector job expansion (December 2009 – December 2010: 10,200 jobs; December 2010 – December 2011: 33,400, jobs).
In December, job gains were posted in all of the state’s nine major private industry sectors. The industry sector with the largest gain was trade, transportation and utilities, which rose by 6,000 jobs. Other sectors that experienced job growth included: education and health services (+5,600), construction (+4,300), professional and business services (+3,900), leisure and hospitality (+3,300), financial activities (+2,300), and other services (+1,400).
Over the month, public sector employment was lower by 700 mainly due to less employment at the state (-200) and local (-600) government levels. Over the month, the unadjusted workweek for production workers increased by 0.3 hours to 42.6 hours, average hourly earnings were lower by $0.14 to $18.86 and weekly earnings rose by $11.58 to $803.44. Compared to December of last year, the unadjusted workweek increased by 1.2 hours, average hourly earnings decreased by $0.83, and weekly earnings were lower by $11.73.