Cheers for N.J. jobless rate reduction; Buono takes issue with Christie policies

TRENTON – There was applause for the news of a lower jobless rate for New Jersey, although that applause was muted in some quarters.

“The year-to-year gain of 59,600 private-sector jobs is very strong and the lower unemployment rate is now starting to demonstrate the strength of that job growth,” said New Jersey Business & Industry Association President Philip Kirschner in a release.

The state reported this morning the unemployment rate had dipped to 8.7 percent.

“NJBIA is very much encouraged by the state’s consistent, upward movement in private-sector job creation as well as the downward trend in the unemployment rate,” Kirschner said.

However, N.J. Policy Perspective cheered the news but found room to criticize.

“While we’re certainly glad to see New Jersey’s jobless rate drop below 9 percent for the first time since 2009, it would be foolish to claim victory and to assume that the state’s economy has recovered. It hasn’t,” NJPP President Gordon MacInnes said in a release.

“There remain 400,000 people officially looking for work and many more who have given up, our jobless rate remains much higher than the nation’s, and New Jersey has still recovered less than half the jobs it lost in the Great Recession, while neighbors like New York have recovered all of them plus added even more.”

Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick hailed the news as proof the governor’s policies are working.

“Private-sector job growth shows New Jersey’s economy continues to gain strength,” he said in a release. “Businesses are hiring and the unemployment rate is decreasing. This clearly shows our state is on the right track. Now is the time for the Direct Tax Relief for New Jersey Families Act which will enhance the economic momentum created over the last several months and create more opportunities for growth.”

But Sen. Barbara Buono, the presumptive challenger to Gov. Chris Christie, found fault with the administration’s policies in the wake of the latest numbers.

“Governor Christie’s economy boasts an unemployment rate that is a point above the national average, declining wages and 400,000 people still looking for work. For three years, his primary job creation program has been to subsidize corporations that move jobs within the state and prevent millionaires from paying their fair share,” she said in a release.

“It’s time for leadership that focuses on helping working and middle class families rather than New Jersey’s wealthiest one percent.” Cheers for N.J. jobless rate reduction; Buono takes issue with Christie policies