New Jersey Unemployment Rate Drops to 6.6 Percent

New Jersey’s unemployment rate fell to 6.6 percent in June, as private sector employers added 9,600 jobs last month to another 2,900 private sector jobs created in May, according to new and revised data released by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The June employment report, combined with revised BLS data showing employment increases in May, marks the fourth consecutive month of private sector job growth in New Jersey, bringing total private sector gains for 2014 to 20,100 jobs. Since February 2010, the recessionary low point for private sector employment in New Jersey, private sector jobs have increased by 141,900.

“This is a very encouraging report. New Jersey now has the lowest number of unemployed since late 2008, along with the highest number of people reporting they are employed since then,” said Charles Steindel, Chief Economist for the State Department of the Treasury. “Private sector employment has recovered from December’s drop and has shown brisk increases over the last few months.  The increase in the number of state residents working over the last few months has been quite remarkable. We have to go back to 1996 to see a three-month rise larger than the 43,400 we’ve clocked since March.”

The unemployment rate fell by 0.2 percentage point over the month, dropping from May’s 6.8 percent to 6.6 percent in June. Preliminary estimates for June indicate total nonfarm wage and salary employment increased sharply, up by 8,200 jobs, to a seasonally adjusted level of 3,945,800, as measured by the BLS through its monthly employer survey. All of the gains were in the private sector, as the public sector contracted by 1,400.

Based on more complete reporting from employers, previously released May estimates were revised higher, up by 3,000 jobs, to show an over-the-month (April – May) total nonfarm employment gain of 1,500 jobs, instead of a loss indicated by preliminary BLS estimates. All of the May gains (2,900) were in the private sector.

In June, private sector job growth was widespread across industry sectors. Industries that recorded employment gains included education and health services (+3,500), finance (+2,600), leisure and hospitality (+1,700), trade, transportation, and utilities (+1,500), other services (+1,500), professional and business services (+1,000) manufacturing (+300), and information (+100). Construction was the only industry sector to experience job contraction (-2,600).

Over the month, public sector employment was lower by 1,400, led by a drop (-2,200) at the state government level. A three-month average of the preliminary employment data for New Jersey places the average unemployment rate at 6.8 percent, with total non-farm employment up by 6,000 ( 6,500 private).

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