N.J. continues to see strong labor market in February; unemployment rate sees slight uptick to 3.5%

New Jersey continued to experience a strong labor market, according to preliminary estimates from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Garden State added 4,600 nonfarm jobs in February, bringing the state’s total to a seasonally adjusted level of 4,321,400.

Private-sector employment rose by 3,600 jobs, and the unemployment rate increased by 0.1 percentage point, to 3.5%.

New Jersey has added 105,400 jobs over the past year.

“While some of the numbers in February were less sparkling than we have recently seen, the overall picture suggests that, for the moment, New Jersey’s labor situation remains strong,” according to Charles Steindel, former chief economist of the state of New Jersey, who analyzed the report for the Garden State Initiative. “The banking turmoil has come upon us so recently that it could only possibly be evident starting with the April data, and it is also quite unclear as to whether these developments will have meaningful effects.”

January employment estimates were revised downward by 4,800, to a total gain of 19,400 jobs. The January unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.4%.

In February, four out of nine major private industry sectors experienced job growth: education and health services (+3,500), professional and business services (+2,600), manufacturing (+600) and financial activities (+100).

Sectors that recorded a loss were leisure and hospitality (-1,600), other services (-900), trade, transportation, and utilities (-500) and information (-100). Construction had no change. Month-over-month, the state’s public sector increased by 1,000 jobs.