N.J. unemployment rate falls in June as private sector adds 9,600 jobs

By Alexi Friedman | The Star-Ledger
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on July 17, 2014

New Jersey's unemployment rate fell in June to 6.6 percent, as the private sector added nearly 10,000 jobs, but the public sector lost 1,400.

 

New Jersey's unemployment rate ticked down in June to 6.6 percent, adding nearly 10,000 more private sector jobs, according to preliminary data from the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development. The May unemployment rate was 6.8 percent.

Public sector employment continued to fall however, with 1,400 newly unemployed, led by a drop of 2,200 at the state government level.

The monthly job gains were made in the private sector, which added 9,600 jobs last month.

 

Leading the way was education and health services with 3,500 new hires, followed by finance with 2,600, leisure and hospitality with 1,700; and trade, transportation and utilities with 1,500 new jobs.

The lone sour note was in construction, which suffered a sharp decline with 2,600 newly unemployed in June, Labor statistics showed.

The latest jobless figure remains above the national unemployment rate, which stands at 6.1 percent, but well below New Jersey’s jobless rate in June 2013, when it was 8.4 percent.

The survey released today found that nearly 4.2 million New Jersey residents are employed — roughly the same as last month &mdash representing about 60 percent of the eligible workforce.

In a statement that followed the jobs report, Gordon MacInnes, president of the left-leaning think tank New Jersey Policy Perspective, called June's employment numbers, "welcomed good news for a change."

But, he added, "one month of positive data does not a strong recovery make. The Garden State has now recovered just 45 percent of the jobs it lost in the recession, far fewer than the nation as a whole — which has recovered 105 percent — and our neighbors in New York (183 percent) and Pennsylvania (93 percent)."

In the past year, MacInnes said, New Jersey has added just 7,200 jobs, while 52,100 residents have left the labor force. "This is not an indication of a strong economy," he said.

New Jersey chief economist Charles Steindel was more optimistic, calling the June report "very encouraging." He added that the state "now has the lowest number of unemployed since late 2008, along with the highest number of people reporting they are employed since then."

Based on more complete reporting from employers, May job estimates were revised higher for New Jersey, up by 3,000, according to the state Department of Labor. All of the revised May job gains were in the private sector, however.

The Labor Department said the revised Labor statistics marks the fourth consecutive month of private sector job growth in New Jersey, bringing total private sector job gains this year to 20,100.

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