Labor commissioner blames overregulation, taxes for slow pace of job growth

TRENTON – Senate Budget Committee Chairman Paul Sarlo, (D-36), Wood-Ridge,  asked Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Howard Wirths Wednesday why a recent report by Rutgers University found it would take the state longer to create jobs.

The report found that the state wouldn’t reach its 2007 job levels until the year 2016.

“There’s no question there’s a lot of work left to do,” Wirths said.

Wirths told the committee that he believes the reason for the difficulty in creating new jobs is because the state is “overregulated and overtaxed.”

“It’s going to take a long time to unwind,” he said.

The department is taking steps to address the matter, he told the senators. It has created Jobs 4 Jersey, a web site containing more than 165,000 job listings and another 500,000 jobs within 50 miles of the state borders.

Wirths said the state has seen the largest job growth in three years, with an increase of 4,600 jobs in March and 13,700 additional jobs in February.

The state’s unemployment rate is 9.3 percent, higher than the 8.8 percent national rate of joblessness.

“We need to prepare our work force for our changing climate,” Wirths said.

He said there are workforce programs being created with the help of colleges, which specialize in life sciences and green jobs.

The department also hopes to set up similar programs for health care, technology and financial services and hopes to offer more job training grants.  Labor commissioner blames overregulation, taxes for slow pace of job growth