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Rutgers' Hughes: National job report is 'good' for New Jersey

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Private sector employers added 215,000 jobs nationwide in November, according to Roseland payroll data firm ADP, a report that shows employers resumed hiring, undeterred by the prior month's government shutdown.

A Rutgers economist said the trend bodes well for statewide recovery, which has been bumpy in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

"It's not bucking bronco growth, but it's solid overall growth and completes a solid three-year trend" in which the national economy added about 2.2 to 2.4 million jobs a year, said Professor James Hughes, a dean at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy.

"A good national report means tailwinds for New Jersey," Hughes said.

Nationwide gains were fueled mostly by the service sector, which added 176,000 jobs in November, the most in a year. ADP said goods-producing sectors added another 40,000 jobs, including 18,000 in manufacturing, the largest monthly gain since early 2012.

Nearly half the job gains in November, or 102,000, were added by small businesses, defined as 50 or fewer employees.

"The job market remained surprisingly resilient to the government shutdown and brinksmanship over the treasury debt limit," Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics, said in a statement. "If anything, job growth appears to be picking up."

New Jersey's 8.4 percent unemployment rate remains more than a point higher than the national average of 7.3 percent. The U.S. Labor Department reports November figures Friday.

Hughes said any momentum is welcome for the New Jersey economy, which paused this summer after recovering mostly in sync with the nation as a whole in 2012 and early 2013.

"That was the delayed impact of Sandy," Hughes said. "The Shore did not bounce back they way we thought it would, both in terms of visitors and people renting out. A lot of dollars leaked out of the economy and went to shore resorts in Delaware and Maryland. That did have a ripple effect throughout the state economy."

Hughes said New Jersey also tends to have higher unemployment than the national average because the state did not participate in the manufacturing rebound, mostly concentrated in the Midwest.

Plus, Hughes said New Jersey's unemployment rate is influenced by job climates in other states, given that many of the state's northern residents commute to New York City.


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