Payroll data better indicator of job growth, Christie says

NEW BRUWNSWICK – When it comes to the state’s unemployment rate, Gov. Chris Christie expressed some frustration regarding why it’s not gone down significantly despite 10 out of 12 months of job growth.

“Problem is, I just can’t make any sense of it,” Christie said, adding that in some months in which there was significant job growth in the private sector, the unemployment rate went up, and vice versa.

He had one theory of why that dynamic exists.

“We still have a significantly higher labor participation rate than (the national rate),” he said. “That contributes to it.”

The September unemployment rate slipped from 9.9 to 9.8 percent, and added 1,100 jobs. The state’s rate, for many months, has remain well above the national unemployment rate, which is currently 7.8 percent.

But he admitted that even that doesn’t explain the uptick in the rate, especially when there isn’t a big increase in the number of people looking for work again.

“I can’t control how the numbers are calculated,” he said.

Christie said that a more precise reflection of job growth would be the amount of payroll being reported to the state Labor Department.

“The rates are all over the map and don’t seem to coincide with the actual numbers,” Christie said.

He said some 90,000 jobs have been added since the beginning of the year.

Payroll data better indicator of job growth, Christie says