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Private sector adds jobs as more in N.J. actively seek work

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In a near reversal from March, private-sector employment in New Jersey increased by 6,300 jobs in April, while the public sector shed 3,700 jobs, mostly at the local government level, according to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

"In just one month, we came within 1,000 jobs of completely reversing the March decline in private-sector employment," said Charles Steindel, chief economist for the New Jersey Department of Treasury, in a statement.

According to Steindel, more than 71,000 private-sector jobs have been added since February 2010, and he said today's numbers are "consistent with continuing job growth." Over the year, total nonfarm employment in New Jersey has increased by 39,600 jobs.

March employment estimates were revised up by 4,900 jobs, for a total nonfarm employment loss of 3,700, after preliminary estimates indicated a loss of 8,600 jobs.

Despite the gains, the state's unemployment rate increased by 0.1 percentage points, to 9.1 percent, but Steindel attributed that to the state's growing labor participation rate, which climbed to 66 percent in April — signaling that more people in New Jersey are actively looking for jobs.

Steindel said the state's participation rate "stands in contrast to the national figure, which dipped in April."

Industries in the private sector that recorded the largest employment gains in April were professional and business services, with 5,400 jobs; education and health services, with 2,600 jobs; and financial activities, with 1,300 jobs — which were the three industries that recorded the steepest losses in March by preliminary estimates.

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