From the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development:
TRENTON, January 21, 2009 – The effects of the national recession are having an increasing impact on employment in the Garden State, according to the latest data. Employment in New Jersey was down substantially in December, lower by 15,200 jobs, and the state’s unemployment rate rose to 7.1 percent. Additionally, preliminary employment estimates for November were revised dramatically lower, indicating a loss of 19,600 jobs in November. (See note on Page 2.)
“The end of 2008 was marked by a deepening national recession and New Jersey certainly felt its effects,” said Labor Commissioner David J. Socolow. “Last month, New Jersey employers cut large numbers of jobs in such industries as professional and business services, retail trade, construction, and manufacturing, mirroring the national trend.”
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has instituted changes in estimation procedures which may not provide an accurate picture of New Jersey’s labor market during the last two months of 2008.
The state’s unemployment rate rose in December, up by 1.0 percentage points, to 7.1 percent from the November rate of 6.1 percent and is New Jersey’s highest unemployment rate in nearly 15 years (March 1994). New Jersey’s December rate remains below the United States rate, which increased by 0.5 percentage point to 7.2 percent last month, the highest national unemployment rate in 16 years. The comparable New Jersey jobless rate for the same month one year ago was 4.2 percent.
Job reductions in December 2008 were recorded in both the private (-14,600) and public sectors (-600) of New Jersey’s economy. Substantial private sector job losses in December occurred in the following supersectors: professional and business services (-5,000), trade, transportation and utilities (-4,500), construction (-3,000), manufacturing (-1,900), and education and health services (-1,900). The only sectors to record job gains were leisure and hospitality (+1,300) and other services (+900).
Over the month, the unadjusted workweek for manufacturing workers decreased by 0.1 hours to 41.3 hours, average hourly earnings rose by $0.07 to $18.19 and weekly earnings were up by $1.08 to $751.25. Compared with December of last year, the unadjusted workweek for manufacturing workers was down by 0.9 hours, average hourly earnings rose by $0.55 and weekly earnings were higher by $6.84.