NJ Unemployment Falls To 9.3%; Still 1.6 Points Higher Than National Rate

TRENTON – New Jersey employers added 12,900 workers to their payrolls in February as the unemployment rate fell to 9.3 percent, down by 0.2 percentage points from January’s rate, according to preliminary data from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, the Garden State’s unemployment rate remains 1.6 points higher than the national unemployment rate, which is 7.7 percent

Higher employment levels were recorded in both the private (+7,100) and public (+5,800) sectors of the state’s economy as total nonfarm wage and salary employment in New Jersey advanced in February to a seasonally adjusted 3,942,900, as measured by the BLS through its monthly employer survey.

“This is another solid jobs report that continues the general, upward trend of growth and progress established under the Christie Administration with nearly 13,000 total jobs added, bringing the number of private sector jobs added under this administration to 120,000,” said Charles Steindel, Chief Economist for the New Jersey Department of Treasury. “The unemployment rate is also moving in the right direction, as more New Jerseyans continue to re-enter the workforce and find employment.”

State Sen. Barbara Buono, the presumed Democratic challenger to Gov. Chris Christie in November, had a dimmer view of the economic numbers.  “February’s jobs report illustrates the jobs crisis we are facing in New Jersey. At 9.3%, more than 430,000 people are unemployed – an unacceptably high number,” she said. “The fact that Governor Christie’s administration calls this ‘another solid month’, after losing 2,200 jobs in January, just shows how the Governor is out of touch with reality.”

In February, private sector job gains were posted in five of New Jersey’s nine major industry sectors. Industries that recorded gains included education and health services (+3,800), information (+3,600), leisure and hospitality (+1,800), other services (+1,000), and professional and business services (+700). Job losses occurred in trade, transportation and utilities (-2,400), financial activities (-1,100), construction (-200) and manufacturing (-100).

Public sector employment in February was higher by 5,800 with advances recorded at all three levels of government: federal (+400), state (+1,800), and local (+3,600).

Based on more complete reporting from employers, previously released January estimates were revised lower by the BLS, down by 4,800 jobs, to show an over-the-month (December 12 – January 13) total nonfarm employment loss of 2,200 jobs. Preliminary estimates had initially indicated an over-the-month gain of 2,600 jobs.

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