New Jersey hit its lowest unemployment mark since 2008 as the rate fell from 7.2 percent in March to 6.9 percent in April, according to new figures released by the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
The state also gained a total of 3,300 private-sector jobs and an additional 1,200 public-sector jobs last month.
April’s job increases follow several months of repeated declines, with March seeing the loss of 700 private-sector positions and another 600 public-sector jobs.
“The strong gain in resident employment and the increase in the labor force, along with the drop in the unemployment rate, indicates that the labor market continues to heal,” state Department of Treasury Chief Economist Charles Steindel said. “We appear to be starting some progress on the job front after the recent soft months.”
Leisure and hospitality, transportation, trade and utilities, and professional and business services were among the top private-sector growth sectors last month.
The state notes that since the February 2010 recession low-point, some 125,700 jobs have been since been added.
Liberal think tank New Jersey Policy Perspective said that according to its figures, the state has only recovered 40 percent of the jobs it lost in the recession, lagging behind the nation and the state’s neighbors.
“The latest jobs numbers for New Jersey offer only the tiniest reason for optimism about the state of the Garden State’s economy,” NJPP president Gordon MacInnes said. “Sure, 4,500 jobs were added and the unemployment rate dropped to the lowest level in more than five years, but this doesn’t obscure the fact that New Jersey is in a deep, deep hole and will need a much stronger economic performance to crawl out of it.”
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