Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

N.J. Employment Streak Ends

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

N.J. Employment Streak Ends

Article excerpt

Hopes that New Jersey's economic rebound was picking up steam took a hit Thursday with the release of figures showing a loss of 7,400 jobs in June.

The decline ended the state's 11-month run of job gains, and reduced the total number of jobs added at the midyear point to 22,400 At that pace, the state would add about 45,000 jobs for the year - about 10,000 more than last year.

After badly lagging the nation's job recovery in the years following the 2007-09 recession, New Jersey had been adding jobs at about the same rate as the nation this year until the June setback.

The jobless rate declined from 6.5 percent to 6.1 percent in June, the lowest rate since October 2008. Yet much of that decline was more due to people leaving the workforce, 10,600 of them, than finding jobs, the figures show.

"The data themselves are encouraging at once, and at the same time they are disappointing," said Patrick O'Keefe, director of economic research at CohnReznick, a global accounting firm with an office in Roseland. "The progress that we had been making stalled in June."

He said the state had enjoyed 11 months of growth that was "tortoise-like in its pace."

"But it was moving in the right direction," he said. "In June, it not only stopped, it took a step back."

The jobless rate and employment can both decline because they are based on separate surveys, one of employer payrolls, which generates employment figures, and the other of people called at home and asked about their job status, which is used to compile the unemployment rate.

Charles Steindel, the state's former chief economist under Governor Christie and now a resident scholar at the Anisfield School of Business at Ramapo College of New Jersey, said the household survey figures and the fall in the jobless rate are "a sign that the state continues its expansion."

The household survey also shows employment increased by 7,800 jobs. But while the employer survey measures employment only in New Jersey, the household survey includes New Jersey residents who work outside the state - so improvements in the jobless rate can be due to residents finding work in New York or Philadelphia, for example. …

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