TRENTON – The state added 6,400 private sector jobs, but cut 4,700 public worker jobs, producing a net gain of 1,700 jobs in June, according to employment figures released by the Labor Department on Thursday.
Despite the overall growth, the state’s unemployment rate increased by 0.1 percent to 9.5 percent.
Since January, the state added some 38,000 jobs in the private sector. June’s overall job growth of 1,700 was lower than the 3,300 jobs added in May.
“New Jersey’s private sector job performance continues to show modest growth. We are steadily adding jobs in what has been a tough national environment,” said Charles Steindel, chief economist for the state Treasury Department. “If, as we anticipate, the national economy improves, we should start to see some drop in unemployment.”
The industries that added the most jobs were leisure and hospitality (+5,200), education and health services (+1,800) and construction (+1,100). Stronger than expected seasonal summer hiring at hotels, restaurants and recreational facilities were responsible for the gains in leisure and hospitality, the department said.
The gain in construction represents the fourth month of job growth in the last five months for the distressed industry.
The industries that saw job losses include manufacturing (-1,900), financial activities (-900) and trade, transportation and utilities (-400). In manufacturing, job loss was recorded in both the durable (-1,100) and nondurable (-800) goods components while the loss in financial activities occurred in the real estate, rental and leasing segment (-900), the department said.
The N.J. Business and Industry Association expressed optimism over the jobs figures.
“We’re on a hopeful upward trend, but the key is sustained job growth,” association President Philip Kirschner said in a release. “The last five months reveal a strengthening state economy and better employment numbers. Hopefully, the trend will continue.”
“State government has taken some big steps to improve its finances and the state’s business climate,” Kirschner said. “Those efforts are paying off, but we must keep up the momentum. It is important for New Jersey’s economy to keep the state heading in a positive direction.”