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N.J. loses 12,000 jobs in July, but takes optimistic tone

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New Jersey lost nearly 12,000 jobs in July amid losses that were spread almost evenly between the private and public sectors, the state Department of Labor reported today.

The state's unemployment rate still ticked down to 8.6 percent, from 8.7 percent, for the month, but private-sector jobs fell by 6,000, while the public sector lost 5,800, according to the federal data reported by the state agency. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics also revised June employment gains upward by 1,100, to 5,700.

In July, the biggest contraction occurred in leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, and construction, which posted losses of 3,100, 2,300 and 2,000, respectively, the state reported. Meanwhile, the trade, transportation and utilities segment recorded job gains of 3,700, while employment in financial activities grew by 1,200.

Total nonfarm wage and salary employment in New Jersey fell in July to just under 4 million, according to the preliminary data.

Still, the state's chief economist for the Department of Treasury struck an optimistic tone, and pointed to the state's long-term employment gains.

"July's job loss should be put into perspective, occurring after a gain of nearly 20,000 private jobs from April to June," Charles Steindel said in a prepared statement. "The growth in employment over the last year is still quite evident, with private jobs up more than 2 percent over the last 12 months."

Reporter Joshua Burd is @JoshBurdNJ on Twitter.

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Write to the Editorial Department at editorial@njbiz.com

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