N.J. adds private-sector jobs, but jobless rate not improving

TRENTON – New Jersey continued a positive trend in job growth, adding 3,900 private sector jobs overall in July, but the state’s unemployment rate remained stuck at 9.5 percent, the Department of Labor and Workforce Development said Thursday.

At 9.5 percent, the state’s jobless rate remains well above the national rate of 9.1 percent.  The state unemployment rate remains higher than the rates in all but 14 states.

Jobs in the public sector, however, continued to fall, with some 2,100 job cuts last month, the department said.

In a turning point of sorts, the industries that saw the most growth were in construction and manufacturing, adding 2,200 and 2,100 jobs, respectively. Health services also lead the pack, adding 1,800 jobs.

Gains in those industries, however, were offset by losses in others, denting the overall job creation statistics. The big losers in July were leisure and hospitality, which lost 1,000 jobs, professional and business services (-900), financial activities (-400), and trade, transportation and utilities (-100). The contraction in leisure and hospitality was registered in the arts, entertainment and recreation segment, which fell by 1,500 jobs, the department said.

“New Jersey continues to show steady, ongoing private-sector job growth, despite the recent turmoil in the markets and increased uncertainty about the economy,” said Charles Steindel, chief economist for the New Jersey Department of Treasury.

Steindel did caution that, “we are not out of the woods.”

“If markets settle down, we expect the expansion to continue,” Steindel added.

N.J. adds private-sector jobs, but jobless rate not improving