New Jersey Employment Reaches Highest Level Since 2008

Total employment in New Jersey reached its highest level in more than six years, surpassing 4 million as employers added 4,300 nonfarm jobs in April to mark ten consecutive months of employment growth in the Garden State, according to preliminary data released by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The April employment growth brings total nonfarm wage and salary employment in New Jersey to its highest level since October 2008 at 4,002,700, as measured by the BLS through its monthly employer survey. Additionally, the BLS significantly revised its preliminary employment estimates for March, to show New Jersey had a 2,600 increase in private sector employment, not the 5,800 loss originally reported.

Private sector employers have added 17,200 jobs in the first four months of 2015, with total nonfarm employment growing by 20,400 jobs in that time. The private sector has gained 39,900 jobs over the past year (April 2014 to April 2015), with total nonfarm employment growing by 46,400 over the year.

New Jersey private sector employment has increased by 186,200 jobs since February 2010, the recessionary low point for private sector employment in the state.

As the number of people employed or actively seeking work in New Jersey continued to climb in April, New Jersey’s labor participation rate edged up to 64.2 percent, continuing to outpace the national rate of 62.8 percent. The state’s unemployment rate held at 6.5 percent.

Based on more complete reporting from employers, previously released estimates for March were significantly revised to show an over-the-month (February to March) total nonfarm employment gain of 1,900 (2,600 private, -700 public). Preliminary estimates had initially indicated an over-the-month loss of 6,400 total nonfarm jobs.

In April, private sector job growth was posted in six of nine major industry sectors. Industries that recorded employment gains included construction (+3,400), professional and business services (+2,100), manufacturing (+700), education and health services (+700), information (+600) and financial activities (+500). Industries that experienced job contraction included other services (-500), trade, transportation and utilities (-3,000) and leisure and hospitality (-4,100). The public sector recorded a gain of 4,000.

Technical Notes: Estimates of industry employment and unemployment levels are arrived at through the use of two different monthly surveys.

Industry employment data are derived through the Current Employment Statistics (CES) survey, a monthly survey of approximately 4,000 business establishments conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of the U.S. Department of Labor, which provides estimates of employment, hours, and earnings data broken down by industry for the nation as a whole, all states and most major metropolitan areas (often referred to as the “establishment” survey).

Resident employment and unemployment data are mainly derived from the New Jersey portion of the national Current Population Survey (CPS), a household survey conducted each month by the U.S. Census Bureau under contract with BLS, which provides input to the Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) program (often referred to as the “household” survey).

Both industry and household estimates are revised each month based on additional information from updated survey reports compiled by the BLS. In addition, these estimates are benchmarked (revised) annually based on actual counts from New Jersey’s Unemployment Compensation Law administrative records and more complete data from all New Jersey employers.

The benchmarked data, which will present a more complete picture of the New Jersey economy for the entire calendar year of 2015, will be released in March 2016.

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