Following four consecutive months of gains, New Jersey employment declined slightly in February while the state’s unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.0 percent, according to estimates released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Total nonfarm wage and salary employment decreased by 7,700 in February to reach a seasonally adjusted level of 4,183,600. The decline was concentrated in the private sector of the state’s economy, down 9,300.
Looking at the longer-term, over the year February 2018 – February 2019, employment in New Jersey was higher by 33,000, with gains recorded in both the private – up 30,600 – and public – up 2,400 – sectors of the New Jersey economy.
“Today’s report confirms the swelling weakness in our state’s economy,” said Regina Egea, president of the Garden State Initiative, a public policy think tank. “The weakness is especially glaring in our state’s vital Information and Financial Activities sectors, which are now reporting nearly 10,000 lost jobs year over year.”
Losses were registered in all private sector fields except for manufacturing, up 200, and professional and business services, up 1,000. Losses were recorded in eight out of ten industries reported by BLS.
Industry sectors that experienced a decrease include trade, transportation, and utilities – down 4,200; financial activities – down 1,800; leisure and hospitality – down 1,400; education and health services – down 1,300; other services – down 1,000; information – down 500; and construction – down 300.
Over the month, public sector employment was higher by 1,600 jobs, mainly due to gains, at 1,3000, at the local level.