Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

N.J. Stunned by Job Losses

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

N.J. Stunned by Job Losses

Article excerpt

New Jersey lost 26,100 jobs in June and July, the state's worst two-month loss since the spring of 2009, at the end of the recession, nearly wiping out all the gains for the year.

The figures, detailed Thursday in the state employment report for July, paint a far darker picture than had been the case for the first five months of the year, when the state added jobs each month and appeared headed to a moderately healthy gain of 45,000 jobs for the year.

Instead, the state has now added just 3,700 jobs this year, according to the report from the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development. At that rate, the state would gain just 6,500 jobs in 2015.

The weak figures surprised economists, who could find few bright spots in the report, or explanations for the job losses.

"It's hot and it's ugly," said 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.

"I have no particular optimism here," he said. "That was not a good report. ... We just have to face it. We have had two bad reports."

The state lost 12,300 private sector jobs and 1,300 government jobs in July, according to the report, which also revised the June figures downward, from a previously announced loss of 7,400 jobs to one of 12,500.

Seeking to paint a brighter picture, state labor officials and Christie pointed out that the jobless rate, which fell from 6.1 to 5.9, is at its lowest level since September 2008. Christie's office put out a release with a headline stating, "unemployment rate continues decline under Christie," but which failed to mention the job losses.

Yet the state figures show the unemployment rate decline was largely due to people leaving the workforce, rather than getting jobs. The figures showed no employment increase. And the state jobless rate in July remained well above the national rate, which is 5.3 percent.

In his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, including during the Aug. 6 televised debate, Christie has said he created 192,000 private sector jobs since taking office. After the latest report, that figure is now about 174,900. …

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