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N.J. lost 3,700 jobs in February but unemployment rate remains steady

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N.J. lost 3,700 jobs in February.
N.J. lost 3,700 jobs in February. - (Thinkstock)

New Jersey's unemployment rate in February held at 7.1 percent from January, but the month did see the loss of 3,700 total public- and private-sector jobs, according to a report Thursday by the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

The job losses were concentrated in the private sector, which saw the reduction of 4,900 positions last month. The public sector recorded an increase of 1,200 jobs, with gains at the federal and local levels.

The department is quick to point out, however, that 10,400 private-sector jobs have been added since February 2012.

State Department of Treasury Chief Economist Charles Steindel said the harsh winter the state has experienced hasn't helped its economy.

"The winter has clearly affected the state's job market — the February count, especially in a sector like leisure and hospitality, was probably held down by the big storm around Valentine's Day," Steindel said. "The large and welcome upward revision for January suggests that, in these conditions, the preliminary numbers may be less reliable than usual. We anticipate that the numbers should get better with the weather."

In January, the department reported a loss of 3,900 total public- and private-sector jobs but posted the state's lowest unemployment rate since December 2008.

Gains in private-sector employment in February were seen in sectors involving trade, transportation and utilities; information, education and health services; and professional and business services. Losses were recorded in leisure and hospitality, financial activities, construction and manufacturing.

Gordon MacInnes, president of liberal think tank New Jersey Policy Perspective, said February's numbers confirm the state's "slow, sideways crawl out of the recession." What also needs to be accounted for is that, over the past year, MacInnes said, more than 98,000 New Jerseyans have given up looking for work.

"Overall, the Garden State is better off than it was during the depths of the recession — but not by much, and our recovery continues to lag that of our neighbors," MacInnes said. "New Jersey has now recovered just 38 percent of the jobs it lost during the great recession. New York, by comparison, has recovered 122 percent and Pennsylvania has recovered 81 percent."

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Andrew George

Andrew George

Andrew George covers the Statehouse from NJBIZ's Trenton bureau. Born and raised in N.J., Andrew has also spent time as a reporter in D.C., Texas and Pa. His email is andrewg@njbiz.com and he is @AndrGeorge on Twitter.

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Comments


mrdirt said:
"N.J. lost 3,700 jobs in February but unemployment rate remains steady" because they
reduce the number of people in workforce (labor participation rate) to make the number what they (Govt) wants it to be, if the Labor Force Participation rate was same as Jan 2013, the State UE 3 would be approx. 10%. Figures don't lie, liars figure.

March 28, 2014 11:24 am

Rich said:
C’MON MR. GEORGE. AT THE END OF THE ARTICLE YOU FINALLY MENTION THE 600 LB GORILLA, NAMELY THAT NJ DOES NOT CONSIDER 98,000 PEOPLE WHOSE UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE HAS RUN OUT TO BE “UNEMPLOYED” EVEN THOUGH THEY CLEARLY ARE—AND ARE EVEN MORE DESPARATE THAN UNEMPLOYED PEOPLE STILL COLLECTING! SO THE WAY NEW JERSEY REPORTS THE NUMBERS, IF 100,000 NEW PEOPLE LOSE THEIR JOBS EVERY YEAR, AND UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE RUNS OUT FOR 100,000 PEOPLE EVERY YEAR, IN A FEW YEARS, NEW JERSEY WOULD HAVE ZERO UNEMPLOYMENT…AND YOU WOULD HEADLINE THE NEWS!

March 27, 2014 4:44 pm



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