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New 2023 benchmark New Jersey employment data released; Preliminary January 2024 estimates indicate continued job growth

NEW JERSEY – Revisions to previously released employment data for New Jersey show that the job market performed better than initially estimated for 2023.

Preliminary January 2024 estimates produced by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that payrolls increased by 20,800, while the unemployment rate remained at 4.8 percent.

Benchmark Revisions for 2023

The BLS’s benchmark process, a required annual review and adjustment of previously released employment data at the state and metropolitan area levels, re-anchors monthly, sample-based survey estimates to full-universe counts of employment, primarily derived from records of the unemployment insurance tax system.

The annual benchmarking adjustment indicates that the year-over-year (Dec. 2022 – Dec. 2023) change in total nonfarm jobs was revised to a gain of 89,600, or 2.1 percent. Previous estimates were 69,600 (1.6 percent). The two-year job gain from December 2021 to December 2023 was revised to 205,300, or 6,000 more jobs than previously estimated.

The revised data show that over the December 2022 – December 2023 period, seven out of nine major private industry sectors experienced job growth.  The year-over-year gains were recorded in education and health services (+37,800), leisure and hospitality (+20,000), trade, transportation, and utilities (+10,400), other services (+6,800), financial activities (+4,000), construction (+3,400), and manufacturing (+1,700). Year-over-year losses were recorded in information (-2,200) and professional and business services (-100). All nine major private industry sectors have now each exceeded their pre-pandemic (February 2020) job levels, with other services the last one to do so in November 2023. Year-over-year public sector employment increased by 7,800 jobs.

Labor force estimates for New Jersey residents were also revised. The average annual unemployment rate was revised to 4.4 percent for 2023, a rise from 3.9 percent in 2022. New Jersey’s unemployment rate was above the national average of 3.6 percent in 2023.

January 2024 Estimates

Preliminary total nonfarm employment estimates for January showed an increase of 20,800 jobs to a seasonally adjusted level of 4,387,100. New Jersey’s private sector accounted for 89 percent of the payroll growth, as employment rose by 18,500 jobs for the month. New Jersey’s unemployment rate remained steady in January, matching December’s revised rate of 4.8 percent. The labor force participation rate was 64.6 percent for January, above the pre-pandemic level of 64.4 percent.

For January, seven out of nine major private industry sectors recorded month-over-month job growth. Sectors that recorded gains include professional and business services (+8,900), private education and health services (+3,000), construction (+2,400), trade, transportation, and utilities (+2,300), other services (+2,200), manufacturing (+500), and information (+300). Sectors that recorded losses include leisure and hospitality (-500) and financial activities (-500). The public sector recorded a gain of 2,300.

Preliminary BLS data for February 2024 will be released on March 21, 2024.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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