After several months of reported growth, New Jersey lost approximately 17,500 total non-farm jobs in March, according to new data released by the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
Contributing to the contraction was a decrease in roughly 19,100 private-sector jobs, most prominently in sectors involving leisure and hospitality, as well as trade, transportation and utilities. Some 1,600 public-sector positions were added last month.
Still, state economists celebrated a continued drop in New Jersey’s unemployment rate, which fell minimally for a fourth straight month to 4.2 percent, below the national average of 4.5 percent.
According to the state, last month’s unemployment rate is the lowest seen since May 2007.
“New Jersey’s economic recovery continues, with a 10-year low unemployment rate that is better than the national average and a record number of employed New Jerseyans,” said James Wooster, LWD chief economist. “On a month-to-month basis, the payroll employment numbers often demonstrate a certain instability, especially for the initial estimates. However, the overall trend of growth and recovery shows no real sign of abating.”
The new jobs report also noted that employment figures for February, which previously signaled an increase in 12,600 total non-farm jobs, were revised to reflect an increase of just 10,900 positions.