State unemployment edges lower, despite a loss of jobs

New Jersey employment shrank in April, according to the state, but the unemployment rate also ticked downward to 4.5 percent.

After three straights months of growth in jobs, New Jersey lost 7,200 positions for the month, to a seasonally adjusted level of 4.17 million, the Department of Labor and Workforce Development said. Most of the decline came in the private sector, which lost 6,200 jobs.

“The unemployment rate has been steady in New Jersey for the past several months,” Rory Butler, regional vice president for Robert Half Technology and The Creative Group, based in New Jersey, told ROI-NJ in a statement. “Overall, there is a lot of confidence in the market right now. Experienced employees, and even recent graduates, are receiving competitive offers and have their choice of a number of different opportunities. It continues to be a candidate-driven market.

“From a technology perspective, (chief information officers) and hiring managers are having trouble finding skilled talent. In particular, network administrators, web developers and information security analysts are three hot positions we are seeming tremendous need for throughout the entire state.”

On the upside, March figures were revised higher, to 6,300 jobs gained from the preliminary estimate of 5,100.

Among industries, professional and business services lost 4,100 jobs, while trade, transportation and utilities, and financial activities, lost 2,000 each. Only manufacturing reached four-digit growth, gaining 1,100 jobs for the month. Public-sector employment was down by 1,000 jobs.