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N.J. lost 1,500 jobs in July as unemployment rate improves

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New Jersey's jobs picture recorded another flat performance in August, shedding 1,500 jobs as unemployment fell by 0.1 percentage points, according to a report today by the Labor Department.

At 8.5 percent, unemployment is a full percentage point less than the August 2012 rate.

New Jersey posted job gains in education and health services (2,800 jobs) and leisure in hospitality (2,100), along with smaller gains in trade, transportation and utilities; manufacturing; and other services.

But 5,900 jobs in professional and business services were lost in August, wiping out that momentum. Financial services (2,400), information (700) and construction (100) also reported losses.

Public-sector employment was flat for the month.

"Considering we're looking at the lowest unemployment rate since March 2009 and we saw vigorous job growth last fall, we are hopeful we will see a repeat," said Charles Steindel, chief economist for the New Jersey Department of Treasury, in a statement.

According to Labor's announcement, over the past 12 months, New Jersey's private sector has added 60,300 jobs.

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