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N.J. lost 1,300 jobs in March as unemployment jumps marginally to 7.2 percent

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Unemployment grew slightly and a total of 1,300 private- and public-sector jobs were lost last month, according to new figures released Thursday by the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

March saw the loss of 700 private-sector jobs and 600 public-sector positions while unemployment took a step up to 7.2 percent from its steady 7.1 percent mark in January and February.

The new numbers follow job losses of 4,900 and 3,700 in January and February respectively.

“We continue to anticipate that job growth should kick into higher gear,” state Department of Treasury chief economist, Charles Steindel, said. “One positive is that recent weeks have seen some of the lowest numbers of applications for unemployment insurance that have been seen in many years.”

Despite the continued monthly job reductions, the department makes note that private-sector employment increased by 2,200 jobs in the past year and reports that 121,400 private-sector jobs have been regained since its February 2010 recessionary low point.

Liberal think tank New Jersey Policy Perspective claims that when you look to the state’s neighbors, that’s not necessarily an impressive figure.

According to NJPP, the state has recovered 37 percent of all jobs lost during the recession. But that’s compared to the national recovery rate of 95 percent, 122 percent in New York and 81 percent in Pennsylvania.

“The March jobs numbers tell the same, discouraging story…Betting the house on tax breaks and incentives for big corporations to shuffle jobs around the state has plainly failed,” NJPP president, Gordon MacInnes, said. “It’s time for our policymakers to recognize that in order to truly build a strong, competitive economy, New Jersey needs to tend to and invest in our assets—like a highly educated work force, great location and vibrant residential communities with great public schools.”

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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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