Unemployment rate continues climb, reaching 9.7 percent

//September 18, 2009

Unemployment rate continues climb, reaching 9.7 percent

//September 18, 2009

Payroll report shows private sector increased hiring; a separate household survey indicates jump in unemployment.New Jersey’s private sector recorded a second consecutive month of job growth, adding 2,900 positions in August, though the state unemployment rate increased by 0.4 percentage points, to 9.7 percent, as the public sector shed 2,100 jobs, according to a report by the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

Labor Commissioner David J. Socolow said the private sector saw its first glimmers of hope starting in the spring. “We have a four-month trend of stabilization of the private-sector employment, followed by two consecutive months of growth,” he said.

Socolow said the disparity between the job-growth report and the unemployment rate is explained by the sources of the two sets of data. The details on jobs gained or lost by sector come from the payroll survey, while the unemployment rate is based on a Census Bureau report. “The two often point in different directions,” Socolow said.

Labor market activity in New Jersey.

In the monthly survey, released Wednesday, the state reported that the majority of public-sector jobs lost were attributed to scaling back of local government positions.

While payroll estimates recorded growth, a separate Census survey by household showed the overall unemployment rate in New Jersey rose to 9.7 percent, which attracted a scathing statement from state Sen. Joseph M. Kyrillos (R-Middletown).

“It’s incredible. New Jersey, once the economic powerhouse of the East Coast, has become a drag on the regional economy,” he said in an announcement. “Every single neighboring state has a far lower rate of unemployment than New Jersey does. The governor should apologize for his failure to act and call a special session.”

The private sector industries that added the most jobs included trade, transportation and utilities, which added 3,100 positions; wholesale trade, which added 1,700 positions; and professional and business services, which added 1,800 jobs. The information industry added 900 jobs, while construction and the education and health services sectors each added 100 jobs.

While those industry groups grew, manufacturing lost 2,400 jobs; financial activities, which includes insurance and real estate, shed 1,200 jobs; and leisure and hospitality nixed 100 jobs.

E-mail João-Pierre Ruth at [email protected]

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