From the Times of Trenton:
When Mayor Douglas Palmer saw the city’s latest unemployment figure, he literally couldn’t believe his eyes.
The unemployment rate hit 17.5 percent in January, soaring from 12 percent a year earlier. More than 3,000 residents entered the unemployment rolls in a city of 83,000, Palmer said.
“How could 3,000 people in Trenton lose their jobs?” he said. “The city only laid off 29 people. The state didn’t lay off anybody, the county didn’t lay off anybody, the schools haven’t laid anybody off yet.”
Trenton’s unemployment rate was the highest among New Jersey’s cities, ahead of Camden at 15.7 percent, Paterson at 15 percent and Newark at 12.5 percent.
Statewide, unemployment was at 7.3 percent in January and then jumped to 8.2 percent in February, just above the U.S. rate. The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics will release February figures for cities next week.
The figures also show county job losses in a range of private industries. The shrinking of fields like construction, retail and domestic work are likely having a disproportionate impact on lower-skilled Trenton residents, said James Hughes, dean of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Policy at Rutgers University.
“The demographic sectors hit hardest so far tend to be younger workers, particularly teenagers and those with lower skill levels and education levels,” he said.
“So as the economy contracts, a lot of the job losses could be impacting really more unskilled jobs,” he said.