Unemployment Rate Rises Above 4% in New Jersey
“New Jersey’s unemployment numbers are very concerning,” Charles Steindel, former state chief economist, said in his analysis of the August jobs report for the Garden State Initiative. “The uptrend in the state’s unemployment rate continued in August, with it rising to 4.2% from July’s 3.9%.”
Over the past year, New Jersey’s unemployment rate has moved from well below the nation’s average, Steindel noted, to somewhat higher than that figure, which is currently at 3.8%. In last month’s State Employment and Unemployment report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, New Jersey ranked 44th in the nation. The next report comes out Friday.
Overall, August was a bit of a mixed bag for the Garden State – the rising unemployment rate notwithstanding, which the state Department of Labor & Workforce Development attributes to more residents joining the labor force and fewer being employed.
Last month, the state gained 12,300 jobs with 6,700 coming in the private sector and 5,600 in the public sector, especially at the local level.
“The headline August number for job gains in New Jersey was higher than any month since January,” said Steindel. “The sectoral increases in August were widespread with the only declines reported to have been in construction (down 400) and trade, transportation, and utilities (also down 400).
“Once again, the public sector led the way, with a 5,600 increase,” he continued. “So, the numbers tell us that public sector employment has grown by 9,600 over the last two months which may be viewed with some skepticism.”