General Business

Garden State Employment Increases in January

NJ Unemployment Rate Equals Nation at 4.0%

New Jersey employers added to their payrolls in January, while the state’s unemployment rate rose slightly by 0.1 percent to equal the national rate of 4.0 percent, according to data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In addition, previously released estimates for 2018 underwent annual benchmark revisions and were also released.

Preliminary nonfarm wage and salary estimates for January 2019 show an increase in total nonfarm employment by 17,800 jobs over the month, reaching a seasonally adjusted level of 4,196,900. All of the gain was recorded in the private sector of the state’s economy (+19,900).

Industry sectors that recorded over-the-month job gains for January included leisure and hospitality (+8,100), professional and business services (+7,900), education and health services (+3,500), construction (+1,900), trade, transportation, and utilities (+1,500), and information (+700). Sectors that recorded a job loss include other services (-1,500), financial activities (-1,300), and manufacturing (-900). Government employment was lower by 2,100 over the month.


The BLS’s benchmark process, a required annual review and adjustment of previously released employment data at the state and metropolitan area levels, re-anchors monthly, sample-based survey estimates to full-universe counts of employment, primarily derived from records of the unemployment insurance tax system.

The results of the latest annual benchmarking adjustment process, conducted by BLS each year at this time for all states, indicate a slower rate of job growth in 2018 than previously released. After benchmark revisions, 2018 still marks the eighth consecutive year of annual job growth in New Jersey, however the over-the-year change in total nonfarm jobs was revised to show a gain of 39,400 jobs, lower than the previously reported gain of 61,900.

The revised data show that over the December 2017 – December 2018 period, seven of nine major private industry sectors of the New Jersey economy added jobs. Job gains were recorded in leisure and hospitality (+12,700), education and health services (+11,900), trade, transportation, and utilities (+4,900), other services (+4,600), construction (+4,200), manufacturing (+3,200), and professional and business services (+200). Sectors that recorded job losses over the year include the information (-2,800) and financial activities (-2,400) sectors. Government employment was higher by 2,900 jobs.

New Jersey’s unemployment rate was also revised as part of the benchmark process, with the annual average unemployment rate for 2018 revised to 4.1 percent. In comparison, New Jersey’s annual average unemployment rate was 4.6 percent in 2017.

Preliminary BLS data for February 2019 will be released on March 21.

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