NJ Employment Decreases in May; April Estimates Revised Up by 6,500 Jobs

New Jersey employment moved lower in May, according to preliminary data from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The May employment estimates were impacted by a labor dispute affecting 5,000 Verizon workers who have now returned to work.

Based on more complete reporting from employers, previously released April estimates were revised significantly higher, up by 6,500, to show an over-the-month total nonfarm employment loss of 1,000 jobs. Preliminary BLS data for May shows employment down by 6,800 nonfarm jobs while the unemployment rate edged to 4.9 percent.

The three-month moving average, which evens out the volatility in the monthly employment figures, shows New Jersey’s total nonfarm employment growth averaging 4,700 jobs over the last three months.

“The recent payroll employment report was impacted, in part, by the Verizon strike, which idled approximately 5,000 workers in the information sector.  Like the national economic recovery, the New Jersey economic recovery is experiencing a slight pause. This is only temporary, however, and we have every reason to expect growth throughout the remainder of 2016,” said James Wooster, Chief Economist for the New Jersey Department of Treasury.

The Garden State’s labor force participation rate, representing the number of people employed or actively seeking work, continues to far exceed the national rate, 64.4 percent to 62.6 percent.

Industries that experienced employment gains in May included construction (+2,900), manufacturing (+2,100) and professional and business services (+1,500). Sectors that experienced contraction were information (-6,000), other services (-3,400), leisure and hospitality (-2,500), trade, transportation and utilities (-1,400), education and health services (-1,200) and financial activities (-500). The public sector recorded a gain of 1,700 jobs.

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