NJ Added 15,400 Jobs In May; Unemployment Drops To 8.6%

TRENTON – New Jersey employers added 15,400 jobs in May, lowering the state’s unemployment rate to 8.6 percent. Even with the latest decrease, New Jersey’s unemployment rate is still a full percentage point higher than the national rate. However, in January, New Jersey’s unemployment rate stood at 9.5 percent.

Based on more complete reporting from employers, previously released April estimates were revised lower, down by 2,400, to show an over-the-month (March – April) total nonfarm employment gain of 900 jobs. Preliminary estimates had initially indicated an over-the-month gain of 3,300 jobs.

Private sector employers have added 66,800 jobs in the Garden State over the past year (May 2012 – May 2013), according to data released by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since February 2010, the recessionary low point for private sector employment, private sector employment has increased by 145,100 jobs.

“New Jersey’s labor market is clearly getting healthier, with continuing gains in employment and jobs, and the unemployment rate on a downtrend. In May, for the second time in the last three months, we have seen noticeably faster job growth than the nation as a whole,” said Charles Steindel, Chief Economist for the New Jersey Department of Treasury. “This report shows both a large overall increase in jobs and gains in most industries, showing the growing depth of the state’s recovery. In particular, construction employment seems to be moving up, possibly reflecting both Sandy rebuilding and the general recovery in housing.”

In May, private sector job gains were posted in seven of nine major industry sectors in New Jersey. Industries with significant job growth included: professional and business services (+5,500), education and health services (+4,500), trade, transportation, and utilities (+4,200), and construction (+1,500).

Gains also were recorded in leisure and hospitality (+400), other services (+300), and information (100). Job contraction occurred in manufacturing (-900) and financial activities (-200). Public sector employment in May was down by 1,100. Gains at the local (+2,600) and federal (+100) government levels were offset by a decrease in state government (-3,800).

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