From the Record:
Four years after New Jersey reached its post-recession employment low, figures released Thursday show the state’s economic recovery continues to be slow.
The state added a modest 29,000 jobs in 2014, leaving employment far below its pre-recession peak and lower even than the level 14 years ago, according to the monthly employment report released by the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
The report showed New Jersey shed 400 jobs last month, even as national employment forged ahead strongly, adding 252,000 jobs in December. And although the state’s jobless rate dropped from 6.4 percent to 6.2 percent, it remains above the national figure of 5.6 percent.
The report, nevertheless, contained some positive elements, including the fact that the state added more jobs in 2014 than the previous year, despite the loss of thousands of casino jobs in Atlantic City, a very harsh winter and the lingering effects of Superstorm Sandy.
“It was a sustained, moderate pace of growth,” said Patrick O’Keefe, director of economic research at the accounting firm CohnReznick.
The 29,000 jobs added last year were an improvement on 2013, when the state gained 18,800 jobs, but below the 2012 total of 43,900 and only slightly better than the figure of 25,200 in 2011.
Since the state’s employment reached a low point in January 2011, New Jersey has regained 48 percent of the 258,000 jobs lost in the downturn. State figures show employment at the end of 2014, 3,957,800 workers, is still below the 2000 total of 4,024,600.