From the Star Ledger:
New Jersey shed 3,700 jobs in February due to private sector cutbacks, though the state’s unemployment rate remained unchanged at 7.1 percent, according to preliminary data released today by the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
State officials blamed the harsh winter weather for the declines.
But the report had a touch of good news. It said revised data for January shows the state gained 6,300 jobs during the first month of the year, instead of losing 3,900 as initially reported.
Employment gains were felt in the trade, transportation and utilities sector, which added 3,900 jobs; professional and business services, which grew by 2,700; and the information sector, which netted 1,000 workers.
Among the industries that lost jobs, the leisure and hospitality sector shed 4,800 workers; financial activities cut 3,200; and construction jobs were 2,000 lower.
Government jobs grew by 1,200, according to preliminary data.
“The winter has clearly affected the state’s job market—the February count, especially in a sector like leisure and hospitality, was probably held down by the big storm around Valentine’s Day,” said Charles Steindel, chief economist for the state Department of Treasury, in a statement.
“The large and welcome upward revision for January suggests that in these conditions the preliminary numbers may be less reliable than usual. We anticipate that the numbers should get better with the weather,” he added.