Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

N.J. Job Growth Tapers Off

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

N.J. Job Growth Tapers Off

Article excerpt

The employment surge that New Jersey rode in the first half of the year has dissipated, with almost all of the key employment sectors losing jobs since June, figures released Thursday show.

While the state added 38,700 jobs from January to June, it has lost 7,100 jobs over the last four months, the figures show. The private sector, which added 34,800 jobs in the first half of the year, lost 6,300 jobs in the next four months. And the government sector, which added 3,900 jobs from January to June, has lost 800 jobs since then.

The most recent figures, for September and October, were released in the monthly employment report from the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

The report showed the state job market virtually flat in the last two months, adding 2,200 jobs, as the jobless rate ticked down from 8.5 percent in August, to 8.4 percent in September, and staying there for October. The rate remains well above the national rate of 7.3 percent.

The department normally releases its jobs report each month, but it released no report for September due to the shutdown in October of the federal government, which compiles the jobs figures for each state.

"It's clear New Jersey's economy is moving onto the right track," said Charles Steindel, chief economist for the New Jersey Department of Treasury. "The unemployment rate is at its lowest point in nearly four years."

Other economists did not share his optimism.

"New Jersey is experiencing a deceleration," said Patrick J. O'Keefe, CohnReznick's director of economic research. "It's too early to call it discouraging. But it is clearly not encouraging."

He noted that the state added on average 1,100 jobs a month since August, and said the weakness of the economy can be seen in the survey of households used to calculate the jobless rate. Although the rate has declined from 9. …

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