The state has regained 85.9% of the jobs lost in March and April 2020 at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
That’s according to the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports March 14 that New Jersey recorded an unemployment rate of 5.2% for January 2022.
In January 2021, that rate was 7.3%. According to US BLS, the national unemployment rate was “little changed over the month,” at 4.0%; 2.4 percentage points lower than the same month last year.
According to the state, the 0.1 percentage point increase over December’s rate comes as more residents enter the labor market to search for work. Total nonfarm employment was up by 8,300 jobs in January, for an adjusted 4.125 million.
The private sector saw the most gains (+6,500). Public sector employment, meanwhile, was up by 1,800 in January, though NJDOLWD noted that most gains came at the local level, accounting for all but 100 of the total.
NJDOLWD also released BLS benchmark revisions for 2021. The annual process reviews and adjusts previously released employment data at the state and metropolitan area levels to re-anchor monthly, sample-based survey estimates to full-universe counts of employment.
Most notably, the revisions show that New Jersey’s recovery from April 2020’s pandemic-impacted low was stronger than originally reported. According to NJDOLWD, revised estimates show the Garden State regained 621,000 — 84.8% — of jobs lost; previous estimates put that number at 561,200 — 78.2% — jobs of the total lost during that period.
According to BLS’s benchmarking, NJDOLWD said New Jersey’s total change in nonfarm jobs for December 2020 to December 2021 was 212,400 jobs, marking a slight increase from the previously reported 208,700. Revisions also showed New Jersey lost more jobs than initially reported during March and April 2020 (732,600 adjusted versus 717,200 as previously reported).
All nine of the state’s major private industry sectors added jobs between December 2020 and December 2021, NJDOWLD said. Over the year, public sector employment was up by 12,000 jobs with the majority (11,900) coming through at the local level.
After benchmarking, New Jersey’s annual unemployment rate for 2021 was 6.3% — ranging from January’s high of 7.3% to lows of 5.1% in November and December. In 2020, the average was 9.5%, NJDOWLD said.
Preliminary BLS data for February 2022 will be released on March 24, 2022.d