From the Press of Atlantic City:
Jobless rates in southern New Jersey counties – already the highest in the state – jumped by a fifth in December to double-digit or near double-digit levels.
Atlantic County lost 2,600 jobs in December, more than it lost in the previous 11 months combined, according to state data released Monday.
“We used to think that the casinos were recession-proof and they’d help us through. That’s obviously not true anymore,” said Richard Perniciaro, director of business research at Atlantic Cape Community College. “What really hurts is that most of what people do down here is discretionary spending, and many aren’t spending if they have the choice.”
Cape May County’s unemployment rate rose to 12.4 percent in December, up from 10.2 percent the month before, and remains the highest in New Jersey. A year ago, it was just 8.5 percent.
With 10.4 percent jobless, Cumberland County had the state’s second worst picture of unemployment in December.
And Atlantic County, with 9.6 percent out of work, rounded out the three-worst counties for employment in the state. The next highest jobless rate in December was in Passaic County, with 8.4 percent.
Ocean County continued to trend with the northern half of the state, its rate rising 1.3 percentage points to 7.9 percent.