TRENTON – Gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie and Gov. Christie seem to be at odds over jobless reports numbers and optimism levels, according to an August 2009 report by The Star-Ledger.
When running against his predecessor, candidate Christie dismissed former Gov. Jon Corzine’s logic that added job growth coupled with an increased unemployment rate was anything to be happy about, according to the newspaper’s report.
At the time, Corzine was expressing his optimism over the state gaining 5,900 jobs in July 2009 despite the unemployment rate jumping slightly from 9.2 percent the previous month to 9.3 percent.
“Job growth. Job growth. For the first time in 17 months,” Corzine was quoted saying in the report. “(There’s) nothing more important in an economic recession than jobs, jobs, jobs.”
And from candidate Christie:
“Look, unemployment is up again this month,” the gubernatorial hopeful said at the time. “I don’t know how when unemployment continues to go up that you can say that’s a success. That shows the low standards the governor has set for economic success in the state.”
Now, fast forward nearly three years.
Gov. Christie told reporters the state’s recent labor report that showed New Jersey’s jobless rate took a slight jump isn’t bad news at all, explaining New Jersey’s employers added nearly 10,000 jobs to their payrolls last month. However, unemployment rose to 9.6 percent from 9.2 percent the prior month.
The governor argued the state has been creating jobs at a record pace and said the higher unemployment is simply an indicator that more unemployed are looking for jobs.
“People in New Jersey share my view that the comeback has begun,” said Christie earlier today, adding that “people who have been basically sitting out” of looking for work “are actively looking” now because they’re feeling more optimistic about the economy and the state’s future.
In fairness to Christie, New Jersey has posted steady job gains in recent months, despite being 1.4 points above the national average. At the time of The Star-Ledger report, the state had been losing jobs for 17 months straight.
Nonetheless, it wasn’t candidate Christie who told the newspaper the data is “testimony to something that is going on in New Jersey’s economy that is very, very good for the future,” it was Gov. Corzine.
Now, from Gov. Christie, job growth is job growth, and that’s a good thing.
“What I look at every month is how many more New Jerseyans are back to work,” Christie said today.