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N.J. continues summer growth in employment

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New Jersey’s private-sector employment grew by nearly 10,000 jobs in July, following a revised gain of nearly 15,000 jobs in June, the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development reported recently.

The report, based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, found that total nonfarm wage and salary employment rose by 9,800 positions in July, while the June number was revised to 14,900 jobs gained, up from 10,600 estimated earlier.

“The economy and the recovery seem to have gained a bit of momentum after years of frustratingly slow growth,” Mark Vitner, senior economist at Wells Fargo, told NJBIZ. “It does seem that things have picked up, and we’ve had two months of strong job gains.”

Of those July jobs, 7,300 were added in the private sector, with the rest added in public positions. The state said private-sector employment is at a historic high.

“Just about everything that could go wrong, did go wrong earlier, after the Great Recession,” Vitner said. “All that’s kind of slowed a little bit now.”

The unemployment rate did tick upward to 4.2 percent, still below the national level of 4.3 percent.

Among nine major industry sectors, five saw gains in July, led by leisure and hospitality at 6,900 gains, and including professional and business services; financial activities; trade, transportation and utilities; and construction. Sectors that saw job losses included manufacturing at a decrease of 2,200 positions, as well as other services, information, and education and health services.

Vitner cited summertime hiring as part of the reason for the leisure and hospitality sector’s big gains. He added that the increase nationally in professional services-type jobs was pulling workers away from lower-paying jobs, adversely affecting hiring in industries like manufacturing.

 “I think what stands out to me more than anything else is that this year is shaping up to be a good year for New Jersey,” Vitner said.

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Write to the Editorial Department at editorial@njbiz.com

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