From the Record:
As New York State’s economic activity has leveled off, New Jersey’s has picked up — and the state job market is stronger than the unemployment rate of 9 percent suggests, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
New Jersey’s economy has generally been less healthy than that of New York City and state since the recession ended. In July, the city’s jobless rate was 8.6 percent, and New York State’s was 8 percent, compared with 9.5 percent in New Jersey.
New Jersey’s growth was “quite robust” in the last three months of 2011, while New York State has seen only “minimal job gains” since August, William C. Dudley, the bank’s president, said at its quarterly briefing on Friday.
“In contrast, New Jersey’s economy, which was sluggish throughout 2010 and into the first half of 2011, has picked up noticeably,” he said.
The unemployment rate in New Jersey and New York City is the same — 9 percent for December — and New York State’s is 8 percent.
The bank president’s comments came a week after New Jersey released figures showing the state added 39,400 private-sector jobs in 2011, the largest annual increase since 2000. The state’s jobless rate still lags behind the national rate of 8.5 percent.
Jason Bram, an economist for the federal bank, said New Jersey’s unemployment rate would likely be lower, except for the strong influx of people into the state labor force.
“In New Jersey, it’s really much better than it would appear,” Bram said. “More people who weren’t in the labor force are looking for a job.”
People who had stopped looking for work are now more optimistic and are looking again, Bram said.
He said Bergen, Hudson and Passaic counties added jobs at a faster rate than the national employment increase of 0.7 percent from June to December last year. New York City also increased employment faster than the nation in that period, he said.