State unemployment rate drops

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New Jersey employers trimmed payrolls in May while the state’s unemployment rate edged lower to 3.8 percent, according to estimates produced by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Total nonfarm wage and salary employment decreased by 7,600 in May to reach a seasonally adjusted level of 4,193,800.

The job contraction was concentrated in the private sector (-8,400) of the state’s economy.

Looking at the longer term, over the year, May 2018–May 2019, employment in New Jersey was higher by 45,900 jobs, with gains recorded in both the private sector (+42,000) and public sector (+3,900) of the New Jersey economy. Since February 2010 (the low point of the last recession), New Jersey’s private sector employers have added 400,700 jobs.

Based on more complete reporting from employers, the previously released total nonfarm employment estimate for April was revised lower by 2,900 to show an over-the-month (March – April) increase of 8,900 jobs. Preliminary estimates indicated an over-the-month increase of 11,800 jobs. The state’s revised April unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.9 percent.

In May, employment decreases were recorded in seven out of nine major private industry sectors. Industry sectors that lost jobs were professional and business services (-3,500), trade, transportation, and utilities (-2,300), education and health services (-1,900), other services (-1,400), manufacturing (-500), leisure and hospitality (-300), and information (-100). Industry sectors that added jobs were construction (+800) and financial activities (+800). Over the month, public sector employment was higher by 800 jobs.

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