Some Seneca and Hughes (and Mantell) from NJBIZ:
This may be the case for some time to come if the United States repeats the employment change pattern of the aftermath of the last recession — a period of job-loss economic growth. During that official recession, which lasted eight months (March to November 2001), the nation lost approximately 2 million private-sector jobs, but an additional 1.3 million private-sector jobs were lost during the following 21 months. These losses occurred even though GDP showed sustained growth. This precedent-setting pattern, which New Jersey closely followed, suggests a turnaround in employment may not occur until sometime in 2010.
It is in these contexts, both short-term and historic, that New Jersey’s August payroll employment report from the employer survey should be viewed. There is good news and bad news. The good news is that the state added 2,900 private-sector jobs in August, despite national economic headwinds. The bad news is that the previously reported gain of 13,000 private-sector jobs in July was revised sharply downward to a gain of 5,600 jobs — a 57 percent reduction. At the same time, an equally significant downward revision to total employment in July transformed a previously reported monthly gain of 5,900 jobs to an actual loss of 500 jobs. We warned in this column last month that the July numbers seemed too good to be true.
During August, New Jersey gained 800 total jobs, with most individual sectors showing just small changes. The most significant were the loss of 2,400 manufacturing jobs, nearly erasing the unusual gain of 2,700 jobs recorded in July (revised), and the loss of 2,100 government jobs. Despite the overall positive employer-based payroll employment gain during August, the household survey painted quite a different picture of the state’s labor market. The sharp jump in the unemployment rate to 9.7 percent in August, from 9.3 percent in July, affirms that New Jersey households continue to be hurt by weak labor market conditions, with the household survey indicating a decline of 34,600 jobs.
On a year-to-date basis, the state’s unemployment rate has risen from 6.8 percent in December 2008 to 9.7 percent in August, an increase of 2.9 percentage points. This increase exceeds the national rate of increase over the same period of 2.5 percentage points (from 7.2 percent to 9.7 percent).