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NJ Unemployment Rate Increases to 16.6%

Unemployment Rate Increases to 16.6%

New Jersey employers recalled workers in June as the partial reopening of the state’s economy from COVID-19 related closures continued. Total nonfarm wage and salary employment in New Jersey increased by 130,900 in June to a seasonally adjusted level of 3,630,400 according to estimates released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Coupled with previously recorded gains in May, New Jersey has now recovered a total of 219,800 jobs, or about 26% of the job loss in March and April due to the coronavirus pandemic and measures taken in response to it.

Despite the payroll gain, the state’s unemployment rate rose by 1.2 percentage points to 16.6%. New Jersey’s unemployment remains higher than the United States as a whole (11.1%), reflective of how hard the Garden State has been hit by the pandemic compared to other parts of the nation.

The BLS continues to acknowledge the difficulty in classification of responses from the household survey, which may have resulted in understating the level of the unemployed and overstating the employed in prior months. The reduction in the misclassification between employed and unemployed people from May to June likely contributed to both the unemployment rate increase and the divergence between household and payroll employment in this month’s report for New Jersey (resident employment fell while establishment payrolls increased). Revisions to monthly estimates and again at the end of the year during annual processing may be expected. For further information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics regarding the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on industry employment and unemployment estimates for June please visit: https://www.bls.gov/cps/employment-situation-covid19-faq-june-2020.pdf

Based on more complete reporting from employers, previously released total nonfarm employment estimates for May were revised higher by 2,100 to show an over-the-month (April – May) increase of 88,900 jobs. Preliminary estimates had indicated an over-the-month gain of 86,800. The state’s revised May unemployment rate was revised up by 0.2 percentage points to 15.4%.

In June, job gains were recorded in eight out of nine major private industry sectors. In order, the largest gains were recorded in trade, transportation, and utilities (+41,800), leisure and hospitality (+35,300), education and health services (+33,000), other services (+7,400), construction (+7,100), professional and business services (+6,700), manufacturing (+3,300), and information (+200). The only sector to record a loss over the month was financial activities (-700). Over the month, public sector employment was lower by 3,300, with the losses concentrated at the local level (-4,800).

Preliminary BLS data for July will be released on Aug. 20.

To access more business news, visit NJB News Now.

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