(The Center Square) – New Jersey saw its total nonfarm wage and salary employment increase by 21,500 in September, but the state’s unemployment rate remains at 7.1%, according to newly released numbers.
“While our job gain looks large relative to the national figure, the reverse is true for the number of employed residents, with New Jersey’s 5,900 increase pales when compared to the nation’s 526,000,” Charles Steindel, the former chief economist of the State of New Jersey, said in an analysis for Garden State Initiative (GSI).
“The puzzle of the discrepancy between the job numbers and unemployment seems to get deeper every month; the general view is that the job figures are more reliable, but the gap between the two sets of numbers raises the question of how and when it will be closed: will it involve a drop in unemployment accompanied by marked gains in resident employment? Or a fall-off in job growth? Or some combination of both?” Steindel added.
Numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show the Garden State experienced an increase of 11,900 private and 9,600 public sector jobs in September. State officials say New Jersey has recovered about 488,100 jobs – about 68% – of those lost in March and April 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
New Jersey’s unemployment rate remains the third-highest in the country, tied with New York and trailing California and Nevada, according to the GSI analysis.
“The total number of jobs in the state edged above 4 million for the first time since March 2020,” Steindel said. “Still, New Jersey remains more than 200,000 below our February 2020 job peak. Moreover, only a bit more than half of September’s gain was in the private sector.
“…The bottom line is that the report is good news on the job front – if we continue recent trends, and get the anticipated upward revision to the job count, New Jersey should set a new job peak at some point in 2022 – but more sobering on the unemployment side,” Steindel added.