New Jersey Employers Added 17,300 Jobs in March

New Jersey employers added 17,300 nonfarm jobs in March, according to preliminary data from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) that shows private sector employment increased by 78,800 jobs over the past year (March 2015 – March 2016). Garden State private sector employers have added 265,000 jobs since February 2010, the recessionary low point for private sector employment in the state.

The number of New Jersey residents reporting to have jobs again reached an all-time high, climbing to a historic level of 4,378,500 in March after hitting a record 4,367,600 last month, according to the BLS household survey.

“The March employment report provides another piece of evidence on the enduring strength of the economic recovery in New Jersey. As important as the solid job gains posted in March, is the upward revision to the employment numbers for February. We can expect more of those to come. The recession is long over and more steady growth is on the way,” said James Wooster, Chief Economist for the New Jersey Department of Treasury.

The March unemployment rate edged higher to 4.4 percent as more New Jerseyans entered the labor force. The labor force participation rate, which measures the number of people employed or actively seeking work, ticked up for a second consecutive month to 64.3 percent. The state’s unemployment rate has fallen 1.8 percentage points over the past year (March 2015 – March 2016) and remains well below the national rate, which ticked up in March to 5.0 percent.

In March, gains were posted in eight of nine major private industry sectors. Leisure and hospitality (+3,500) and education and health services (+3,400) experienced the most growth, followed by construction (+3,000), trade, transportation and utilities (+2,900), professional and business services (+1,600), other services (+1,200), financial activities (+1,000) and information (+600). Manufacturing contracted slightly, down 200 jobs. The public sector recorded a gain of 300 jobs.

Based on more complete reporting from employers, previously released estimates for February were revised up by 3,400 to show an over-the-month total nonfarm employment loss of 5,200 jobs. Preliminary estimates had initially indicated an over-the-month loss of 8,600 nonfarm jobs.

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