NJ UNEMPLOYMENT FALLS AND JOBS INCREASE AS STATE SHARES IN SLOWLY GROWING U.S. ECONOMY
By Eliot Caroom/Star-Ledger
November 17, 2011
New Jersey’s unemployment rate dropped to 9.1 percent last month as private businesses added 4,000 jobs, state officials announced today.
It was the third month in a row that the New Jersey unemployment rate dropped.
“Since January, seven of the nine monthly changes have been positive,” said Rutgers economics professor Joseph Seneca. “The increase since that time, 38,600 private sector jobs, puts the state on the best pace for private sector job growth since the late 1990s.”
Seneca said it was a good sign that in the October unemployment report, the unemployment rate fell and the workforce expanded.
That differed from previous months such as September when the unemployment rate dropped despite lost jobs, perhaps because some people stopped looking for work and weren’t counted for the rate.
Even September’s mixed report got a little rosier this week as the state announced that an estimated loss of 11,000 jobs that month had been revised downward to only 5,000 jobs lost after more information was gathered from employers.
The added jobs in October included gains in sectors like educational and health services, which added 2,600 jobs and manufacturing with 1,500 jobs.
That doesn’t surprise Adam Samples, a manager for staffing company Robert Half International, which has eight locations in the state.
“Manufacturing has always been strong,” said Samples. “We’ve seen gains in banking relative to the small community banks, regional banks and credit unions even.
Samples said financial analysts and staff accountants are also in demand right now.
“Because of the time of year, we’re seeing a lot in credit and collections,” Samples said. “It’s the fourth quarter, so a lot of companies are looking to clean up their financials and get as much cash collected on the books as possible before their year end.”
The report shows that New Jersey is part of the national job growth picture, Seneca said.
“The pace is not gangbusters, but it’s positive,” said Seneca. “In October, the country added 104,000 private sector jobs. New Jersey added 4,000 of those. It’s participating in the national expansion.”
A continuing negative in New Jersey’s job market was the loss of 1,500 public sector jobs, and Seneca said that trend is likely to continue as the state and local governments grapple with fiscal constraints.