NEW JERSEY – Preliminary estimates produced by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that total nonfarm wage and salary employment in New Jersey decreased in December by 7,700 to reach a seasonally adjusted level of 3,890,000. Losses were recorded in both the private (-7,100) and public (-600) sectors of the state’s economy.
The state’s unemployment rate fell by 2.6 percentage points to 7.6 percent in December, primarily due to New Jersey residents leaving the labor force rather than finding employment.
The December data suggest that employment recovery from its pandemic-related April low point appears to have stalled in the 4th quarter of the year. New Jersey has regained a total of 479,400 jobs in the six months since April, or about 58 percent of jobs lost due to the coronavirus pandemic and measures taken in response to it. However, since September, total employment has contracted by 2,100 jobs. See the technical notes at the end of this release for information about the impact of the coronavirus on this month’s employment estimates.
Based on more complete reporting from employers, previously released total nonfarm employment estimates for November were revised higher by 1,400 to show an over-the-month (October – November) increase of 8,500 jobs. Preliminary estimates had indicated an over-the-month gain of 7,100 jobs. The state’s revised November unemployment rate was unchanged, remaining at 10.2 percent.
In December, employment decreases were recorded in only four out of nine major private sectors. Sectors that recorded employment decreases include leisure and hospitality (-8,900), financial activities (-1,900), education and health services (-1,600) and information (-1,300). Sectors that recorded employment increases include construction (+3,100), professional and business services (+2,900), manufacturing (+300), trade, transportation, and utilities (+200), and other services (+200). The public sector recorded a decrease of 600 jobs over the month.
Preliminary BLS data for January 2021 and benchmarked data, which will present a more complete picture of the New Jersey economy for the entire calendar year of 2020, will be released on March 15, 2021.