“April was far, far from the cruelest month (T.S. Eliot’s term) for New Jersey workers,” said Charles Steindel, former chief economist of the State of New Jersey, in his analysis of last month’s jobs report for think tank Garden State Initiative (GSI).
After a relatively lackluster February and March, the state added 15,800 jobs to its payroll count in April. That gain occurred entirely in the private sector. March figures were also revised upward by 5,400 for a gain of 2,800 jobs instead of the original estimate of 2,600 jobs lost.
In April, seven of the nine major private industry sectors experienced job growth.
“There were small losses in manufacturing, information, and government: all other aspects were up, most notably professional and business services, where the large 7,600 increase probably was in part due to improved weather helping categories such as landscaping,” Steindel explained.
The state unemployment rate remained at 3.5% for the third straight month, a tick higher than the national rate of 3.4%.
And the labor force participation continued to rise.
“The count of employed residents rose by 18,400, and there was a 17,800 increase in the labor force,” said Steindel. “New Jersey’s labor force participation rate in April was 65%, higher than any month since June 2013.”d