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N.J. jobless rate falls, but private employers cut nearly 10,000 jobs

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While the state unemployment rate edged down by 0.1 percentage points for the second consecutive month, to 9.7 percent, private-sector employers shed 9,400 jobs in October, the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development reported today.

Both the public and private sectors shrank their payrolls in October, which caused total employment in New Jersey to drop by 11,700 jobs. The September employment loss was revised down a further 1,500 jobs, to show a monthly drop of 2,700 jobs.

However, three of the state's 10 private-industry sectors posted job gains in October, including construction, with 4,500 jobs, and professional and business services, with 1,200 jobs. But large losses occurred in traditionally strong areas of job growth, like leisure and hospitality, which shed 9,700 jobs; trade, transportation and utilities, which shed 2,700 jobs; and education and health services, which shed 2,100 jobs. Private-sector industries with smaller job decreases included financial activities, which dropped 700 jobs; information, with 600 jobs; and manufacturing, with 400 jobs.

The public sector decreased payrolls at both state and local levels, shedding 2,300 jobs.

"While there were divergent moves across industries in their job counts, we remain above the national numbers in our labor force participation rate and the fraction of our population that is employed," said Charles Steindel, chief economist for the New Jersey Department of Treasury, in a statement. "The large increase in household employment and the labor force reverses some of the recent drops in resident employment and labor force participation."

Write to the Editorial Department at editorial@njbiz.com

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