NEW JERSEY – The negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on New Jersey’s economy resulted in a record number of monthly job losses and widespread unemployment in April. The mandatory shut down of business activities and stay at home orders to prevent the spread of the virus contributed to total nonfarm employment plummeting by 757,700 jobs in April, while the state’s unemployment rate soared to 15.3 percent, according to estimates released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Both the private (-750,100) and public (-7,600) sectors of the state’s economy recorded losses. The decrease in nonfarm payrolls and the increase in the unemployment rate both represent record-setting monthly shifts for the state.
Based on more complete reporting from employers, previously released total nonfarm employment estimates for March were revised lower by 43,300 to show an over-the-month (February – March) decrease of 75,100 jobs. Preliminary estimates had indicated an over-the-month loss of 31,800 jobs. Over the two-month span since February, prior to the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in New Jersey, employment in the state has dropped by 832,800, nearly 20 percent of total employment.
In April, employment decreases were recorded in all nine major private industry sectors. By order of magnitude, the largest decrease was recorded in the leisure and hospitality sector (-236,500), followed by trade, transportation, and utilities (-157,500), education and health services (-113,100), professional and business services (-90,100), other services (-57,200), construction (-43,800), manufacturing (-33,900), financial activities (-12,800), and information (-5,100). Over the month, public sector employment was lower by 7,600.
Preliminary BLS data for May will be released on June 18, 2020.