From the Record:
New Jersey added 4,900 jobs in September, prompting economists to express optimism about the health of the job market.
The state unemployment rate for September was 4.3 percent, the same as in August, according to monthly job figures released by the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development. That was below the national rate of 4.7 percent.
The state has added 19,500 jobs since January. If that rate continues, the state will add 26,000 jobs this year — short of the 33,900 jobs added in 2006, and well short of the historical addition of 40,000 jobs a year.
Joseph Seneca, a Rutgers University economist, said the recent strength in the job market can be seen from the fact that the state added almost as many jobs in the third quarter — 9,500 — as in the first two quarters, when it added 10,000 jobs.
“This is encouraging,” he said.
Most of New Jersey’s growth, 4,600 jobs, came in the private sector, with the public sector adding 300 jobs.
The professional and business-services sector added the most jobs, 2,700, followed by 1,900 additional jobs in the education and health services sector, and 1,800 in the leisure and hospitality sector.
The largest decline came in the financial sector, which lost 1,500 jobs. Seneca said the loss “suggests the mortgage lending problems and the credit market problems are showing up now in job losses.”
The state also revised the August employment figures downward, reporting that the state lost 400 jobs instead of adding 500 as previously stated.
Jason Framm, an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank in New York, cautioned that the state has added jobs more slowly than the nation over the past year.
But he said the slight increase in New Jersey’s labor force participation rate is good news because it showed that more people are working and looking for work.