Unemployment falls to 4.2% – nearly all jobs lost from pandemic have been recovered

It’s all a bit ironic: At a time when employers continually talk of how difficult it is to find employees, the unemployment number in the state continues to drop.

On Thursday, the department of labor and workforce development announced the state’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.2% (from 4.6%), making the 16th consecutive month of job gains.

Payrolls expanded by 17,800 jobs, almost all in the private sector. Through the first three months of the year, employment growth totaled 58,400 jobs, according to estimates. Because of this, New Jersey has now recovered 679,400 jobs, or 93 percent of the number lost in March and April 2020 due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

In March, employment increases were recorded in eight out of nine major private industry sectors. Over-the-month gains were recorded in:

· leisure and hospitality (+4,900);

· professional and business services (+4,300);

· trade, transportation, and utilities (+4,200);

· financial activities (+1,200);

· education and health services (+1,100);

· manufacturing (+1,000);

· other services (+700);

· construction (+300).

The information sector recorded no change. Public sector employment increased by 200 jobs.

It should be noted, New Jersey trails the national unemployment average of 3.6%