In the final jobs report of 2022, the state’s labor market grew slightly, adding 1,400 jobs and capping the year on a good note despite losses in some sectors, according to preliminary estimates produced by U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“The pattern of job growth was quite mixed in December,” said Charles Steindel, former chief economist of the State of New Jersey, who analyzed the report for think tank Garden State Initiative. “The private sector as a whole was virtually unchanged, with a gain of just 100. Most notably, there were large losses in both construction (3,400) and professional and business services (2,500). Marked increased in trade, transportation, and utilities (2,200) as well as educational and health services (4,400) were the major offsets to these losses.”
Steindel believes it is possible that the sharp swing in New Jersey’s weather from November to December may have contributed to some of those losses.
“For instance, before seasonal adjustment, there was a 25,000 drop in jobs in the component of professional and business services that includes landscapers, as compared to a decline of just 6,100 in December 2021,” said Steindel.
December also saw a swell in the public sector with an increase of 1,300 jobs.
The report noted an upward revision to November 2022 figures by 6,400 jobs for an adjusted gain of 18,100 jobs between October and November.
The unemployment rate held steady at 3.4%, just a shade under the national rate of 3.5%.
“The unemployment and labor force numbers were good,” said Steindel. “New Jersey’s labor force rose 9,300. Since the March low point, the labor force has increased by more than 100,000, though it is still a bit below the pre-pandemic peak level.”
Steindel says that the total increase of jobs since December 2021 has been nearly 150,000.
On March 13, a more complete picture of overall 2022 numbers will be released, along with preliminary data for January 2023.
“2022 joins 2021 as the only years since 1999 in which jobs have grown by more than 100,000 over their 12 months (the 2022 numbers will be subject to revision in March; it is anticipated that they will more likely than not be revised up),” Steindel added.