New Jersey adds jobs in December; unemployment rate ticks up to 4.8%

New Jersey gained an estimated 12,200 nonfarm jobs in December to close out 2023. the state’s unemployment rate inched up to 4.8%, 0.1 of a percentage point higher than November, and the state’s labor force participation rate fell slightly for the fourth time in as many months, according to Thursday estimates released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In December, employment gains in the private sector were concentrated in seven out of nine major private industry sectors: education and health services (+4,300), construction (+3,800), leisure and hospitality (+1,600), trade, transportation and utilities (+1,600), manufacturing (+700), other services (+400) and information (+100).

The only industry that recorded a loss for the month was professional and business services (-1,600); the financial activities sector was unchanged.

The public sector recorded a gain of 1,300 jobs, which was mostly concentrated in local government.

For the calendar year 2023, New Jersey added 69,600 nonfarm jobs. About 75% of those gains were in the private sector, with five out of nine private sector industries recording a gain between December 2022 and December 2023.

Those industries are: education and health services (+42,600), leisure and hospitality (+13,900), manufacturing (+2,400), construction (+2,300) and information (+600). Professional and business services (-8,500), trade, transportation and utilities (-600) and other services (-400) recorded losses, while financial activities recorded no change.

Year-over-year, the state’s public sector recorded an increase of 17,200 jobs.