BLS: Unemployment rate ticks up as more N.J. residents enter labor market

The unemployment rate has inched up as more New Jersey residents are entering the labor market, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Figures released said New Jersey’s total nonfarm employment increased by 6,500 jobs in December, reaching a seasonally adjusted total of approximately 4.22 million. The state’s unemployment rate was up a tenth of a percentage point to 3.5% as more residents are entering the labor market seeking employment.

Year-over-year, New Jersey employers added 39,000 new workers to their payroll from December 2018 to 2019. All gains were recorded in the private sector (41,400) with the public sector losing 2,400 roles. Last year (2019) was the tenth in a row that the state recorded private sector job growth — since February 2010 (recession low point), New Jersey’s private sector employers have added 426,300 jobs.

There were four major private industries that recorded job increases in December, they include:

  • Leisure and hospitality, 3,400;
  • Professional and business services, 2,700;
  • Trade, transportation and utilities, 1,200;
  • Education and health services, 200.

Industries with losses over the month include:

  • Construction, -600;
  • Manufacturing, -500;
  • Financial activities, -400;
  • Other services, -200;
  • Information, -100.

Over the month, public sector employment was up by 800 jobs.