N.J. unemployment rate fell to 5% in December

New Jersey’s employment fell in December, but the state’s unemployment rate also declined, according to new figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The unemployment rate ticked down 0.1 of a percentage point, to 5 percent, in December, according to a release from the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

“We’re seeing strong demand across the board for talented, skilled professionals,” Dora Onyschak, metro market manager for Robert Half in New Jersey, told ROI-NJ. “With increasing questions about the new tax bill, we are seeing a lot of interest for experienced tax professionals in the early stages of 2018 — as well as customer service and various administrative roles. Candidates are really in the driver’s seat right now — with many companies looking to hire, they have options when it comes to positions, location and, of course, salary.”

On the downside, total nonfarm employment fell by 11,400 jobs for the month, to a seasonally adjusted total of 4,126,600 jobs, based on preliminary estimates. However, during the December 2016-December 2017 period, total New Jersey employment rose by 22,900 jobs. Private-sector employment for that time rose by 26,700 jobs, while public-sector employment fell by 3,800 positions.

For December, employment fell in six of the nine major private sectors, the state said, with the biggest loss in trade, transportation and utilities: 6,100 jobs. The biggest gain came in leisure and hospitality, which added 2,800 positions.

November’s job gains were revised higher, as well, growing by 1,300 jobs to a monthly gain of 7,700 positions.