Employment in New Jersey rose in February, increasing by 7,500 jobs; jobless rate up to 9.2 percent

TRENTON – Employment in New Jersey rose in February, increasing by 7,500 jobs, the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development reported Thursday.

The state’s February unemployment rate, however, edged up by 0.1 percentage point to 9.2 percent, from the January rate of 9.1 percent.

This slight rise is mainly attributable to the re-entry of “discouraged workers” into the state’s labor force, the Labor department reported.

As potential workers who had stopped looking for jobs sensed that employment opportunities have improved, they re-entered the labor force and resumed their job search, the state reported. The re-entry of prospective workers can temporarily cause the unemployment rate to rise even as employment is increasing during the early stages of an economic recovery.

Long term job figures show growth of 17,200 private sector jobs between February 2010 and February 2011, in contrast to the previous year’s loss of 96,600 private sector jobs between February 2009 and February 2010.

In addition, New Jersey personal incomes are on an upswing.  According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the state’s aggregate personal income—an estimate of income earned by all residents—was $450.7 billion (at an annual rate) for the fourth quarter of 2010. This is a new record high and is 2.9% above the value for the fourth quarter of 2009.

“The income gain is one of the most encouraging signs yet that New Jersey’s economy is emerging from the recession,” said Charles Steindel, Chief Economist for the New Jersey Department of the Treasury. For the report: