New data shows growing job market

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Revised data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicate the New Jersey labor market grew at a solid pace in 2017, expanding by 43,400 jobs. Additionally, preliminary estimates for January 2018 show the trend continuing in New Jersey’s job market, with a monthly total nonfarm job gain of 13,000, while the state’s unemployment rate held steady at 4.7 percent.

The BLS’s benchmark process – a required annual review and adjustment of previously released employment data – updates monthly, sample-based survey estimates to full counts of employment, primarily derived from records of the unemployment insurance tax system. The results of the latest annual benchmarking adjustment process, which is conducted by BLS each year at this time for every state, show an increase in 2017 employment. After benchmark revisions, the over-the-year (Dec. 2016 – Dec. 2017) change in total nonfarm jobs was revised to a gain of 43,400, up from a previously reported gain of 22,900.

The revised data show that over the December 2016 – December 2017 period, five of nine major private industry sectors of the New Jersey economy added jobs. Job gains were recorded in education and health services (+20,300), trade, transportation, and utilities (+15,300), leisure and hospitality (+8,500), manufacturing (+3,200), and other services (+2,000). Sectors that recorded job losses over the year were construction (-2,800), information (-2,600), and professional and business services (-1,000). The financial activities sector was unchanged. Government employment was higher by 500 jobs.

New Jersey’s unemployment rate was also revised as part of the benchmark process, with the annual average unemployment rate for 2017 revised to 4.6 percent, down from an annual average of 5.0 percent in 2016.

Preliminary nonfarm wage and salary estimates for January show an increase in total nonfarm farm employment by 13,000 jobs over the previous month, reaching a seasonally adjusted level of 4,159,800. The majority of the gain was recorded in the private sector of the state’s economy (+11,100). The state’s unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.7 percent.

Industry sectors that recorded over-the-month job growth for January included: professional and business services (+5,800), trade, transportation, and utilities (+4,100), construction (+1,800), financial activities (+1,000), information (+500), and education and health services (+500). Leisure and hospitality recorded a job loss (-2,600), while employment in the manufacturing and other services sectors was unchanged. Government employment was higher by 1,900 from the prior month.

Preliminary BLS data for February will be released on March 22nd.
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