The economy added 88,000 jobs in March, edging the national unemployment rate down to 7.6 percent, according to the latest figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Over the prior 12 months, employment growth had averaged 169,000 per month. Employment grew in professional and business services and in health care but declined in retail trade.
Professional and business services added 51,000 jobs in March. Over the past 12 months, employment in this sector has grown by 533,000 jobs. The health care sector added 23,000 jobs in March, continuing the average growth seen over the past 12 months.
Construction added 18,000 jobs in March, continuing gains that began in the fall. Retail trade employment declined by 24,000 jobs. The industry had added an averageof 32,000 jobs per month over the prior six months.
The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for January was revised from +119,000 to +148,000 jobs, and the change for February was revised from +236,000 to +268,000 jobs.
New Jersey’s rate of unemployment is 9.3 percent as of February.