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State Unemployment Rate Dips to 4.2%

Employment Gains Continue in March with Most Pre-Pandemic Jobs Recovered

Total nonfarm employment growth continued in March as New Jersey employers added 17,800 jobs for the month, marking the 16th consecutive month of job gains in the state, the New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development reported today. Through the first three months of the year, employment growth totaled 58,400 jobs, according to estimates.

New Jersey has now recovered 679,400 jobs, or 93% of the number lost in March and April 2020 due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The state’s unemployment rate declined by 0.4 percentage points, to 4.2%.

In March, employment increases were recorded in eight out of nine major private industry sectors. Over-the-month gains were recorded in leisure and hospitality (+4,900); professional and business services (+4,300); trade, transportation, and utilities (+4,200); financial activities (+1,200); education and health services (+1,100); manufacturing (+1,000); other services (+700); and construction (+300). The information sector recorded no change. Public sector employment increased by 200 jobs.

“New Jersey’s position relative to unemployment is markedly improved from a year ago,” said Kyle Sullender, director of economic policy research at the New Jersey Business & Industry Association. However, he said the state’s labor force has lost 38,500 people over the same span. “In this next phase of our recovery, we need to continue bringing as many workers as possible back into the labor pool and ensuring that they have the skills needed to fill open positions,” Sullender explained.

Based on more complete reporting from employers, previously released total nonfarm employment estimates for February were revised higher by 3,300 jobs to show an over-the-month (January – February) increase of 29,200. Preliminary estimates indicated an over-the-month gain of 25,900 jobs. The state’s February unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.6%.

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