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Despite NJ July Job Gains State is still nearly 275,000 jobs shy of the February 2020 peak

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Trenton NJ,  Preliminary estimates produced by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that total nonfarm wage and salary employment in New Jersey increased in July by 14,600, to reach a seasonally adjusted level of 3,954,100. This marks the seventh consecutive month of gains in the state’s total nonfarm job level.  

Unemployment rate increases in July to 7.3%, well above 5.4% US average

State adds 14,600 jobs, remains 275,000 below early 2020 peak

Resident employment growth lags nationwide surge

The gains were concentrated in the private sector (+21,100) of the state’s economy. New Jersey has now recovered 441,700 jobs, or about 62 percent of the number lost in March and April 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic and measures taken in response to it. The state’s unemployment rate edged up by 0.1 percentage point to 7.3 percent in July. (See the technical notes at the end of this release for further information about the impact of the coronavirus on this month’s employment estimates.) 

Based on more complete reporting from employers, previously released total nonfarm employment estimates for June were revised higher to show an over-the-month (May – June) increase of 20,500 jobs.  Preliminary estimates had indicated an over-the-month gain of 16,600 jobs. The state’s June unemployment rate was revised down by 0.1 percentage point to 7.2 percent.  

In July, employment increases were recorded in seven out of nine major private sectors. Sectors that recorded job gains were professional and business services (+6,900), trade, transportation, and utilities (+6,100), construction (+4,000), other services (+2,100), leisure and hospitality (+1,300), manufacturing (+1,100), and education and health care (+400). Sectors that recorded job losses include financial activities (-700), and information (-100). Over the month, public sector employment decreased by 6,500 jobs, mainly at the local level (-7,100), due to lower-than-expected seasonal employment outside of education. 

July’s overall job gain was in line with the average we’ve seen since January. The state is still nearly 275,000 jobs shy of the February 2020 peak, which would suggest that at this pace of growth we will not set a new peak until early 2023. However, yesterday the Bureau of Labor Statistics released data suggesting that the number of jobs in New Jersey’s total was significantly understated early this year; quite possibly by more than 50,000. This information, to be reflected in next winter’s regular revision of the data, suggests that we might get back to peak employment sometime in 2022, assuming that the national economic expansion continues.

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