The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) revised employment data for 2019 shows that New Jersey added 13,400 more jobs than previously estimated, for a total of 52,400 jobs for the year. The gains continued in January, with 14,100 new nonfarm jobs, according to preliminary BLS estimates.
The BLS benchmark process, a required annual review and adjustment of previously released employment, 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 benchmarking adjustment process — conducted by BLS each year at this time for every state — shows a greater overall rate of growth in 2019 than originally estimated.
After benchmark revisions, the over-the-year (Dec. 2018 – Dec. 2019) change in total nonfarm jobs was revised to a gain of 52,400, up from a previously reported gain of 39,000. Preliminary data had overestimated the number of jobs in the first half of the year, and underestimated them in the second half. Last year marks the ninth consecutive year of annual December to December job growth in New Jersey.
The revised data show that over the December 2018 – December 2019 period, seven of nine major private industry sectors of the New Jersey economy added jobs. Job gains were recorded in education and health services (+14,800), professional and business services (+14,200), trade, transportation, and utilities (+8,900), leisure and hospitality (+7,200), other services (+2,200), manufacturing (+800), and construction (+600). Sectors that recorded job losses over the year were information (-1,800) and financial activities (-400). Government employment was higher by 5,700 jobs.
Labor force estimates for New Jersey were also revised. After benchmarking, the state averaged an annual unemployment rate of 3.6 percent for 2019, as estimated. This is down from 4.1 percent for 2018. New Jersey’s rate was below the annual national rate of 3.7 percent for 2019.
Monthly Data for January
New Jersey employers added to their payrolls in January while the state’s unemployment rate ticked up over the month, according to the BLS.
Preliminary nonfarm wage and salary estimates for January 2020 show an increase in total nonfarm employment of 14,100 jobs over the month, reaching a seasonally adjusted level of 4,240,500. Most of the gain was recorded in the private sector of the state’s economy (+12,500). The state’s unemployment rate rose by 0.1 percentage point to 3.8 percent as more New Jersey residents entered the labor market in search of employment.
Industry sectors that recorded over-the-month job growth for January included professional and business services (+3,700), education and health services (+3,400), trade, transportation, and utilities (+2,500), construction (+2,000), leisure and hospitality (+1,000), manufacturing (+600), and other services (+200). Sectors that recorded a job losses included financial activities (-500) and information (-400). Government employment was higher by 1,600 over the month.
Preliminary BLS data for February 2020 will be released on March 26, 2020.
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