New Jersey job numbers improve, but ‘there’s still a long way to go,’ according to analysis

(The Center Square) – New Jersey’s unemployment rate increased by 0.1% to 7.3%, and at the current rate of recovery, the jobs lost amid the COVID-19 pandemic will not be recovered for another two years, a new analysis found.

“New Jersey’s labor numbers stay on a moderate upward path, but there’s still a long way to go,” Charles Steindel, New Jersey’s former chief economist, said in an analysis for the Garden State Initiative (GSI).

In June, New Jersey’s job count rose by 16,600, the sixth consecutive month of job gains in the state. New Jersey has recovered 423,200 jobs or roughly 59% of the number lost amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and since January, the Garden State has added nearly 70,000 jobs.

Six of the nine major private sectors saw job increases in June: trade, transportation and utilities (6,200); leisure and hospitality (4,500); education and health services (4,100); professional and business services (800); financial activities (300); and other services (200). Public sector employment also increased by 2,300 jobs.

Conversely, the construction (1,300), manufacturing (800) and information (100) sectors saw job losses.

Despite the gains, the state’s job totals remain more than 300,000 below the pre-pandemic level, according to the GSI analysis. New Jersey’s unemployment rate remains higher than the 5.9% national unemployment rate.

“With the exception of last year’s surge in jobs with the end of the shut-down, this is the largest increase in payrolls over a five-month period in nearly 40 years,” Steindel said. “However, the number of jobs in New Jersey in June was still more than 300,000 less than the February 2020 peak. Even if the recent pace were maintained it would take nearly two years – until mid-2023 – for New Jersey’s job number to hit a new peak.”

The numbers are from the New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Developmentand are based on preliminary estimates from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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