From the Record:
New Jersey added nearly 61,000 jobs last year, the best year for private-sector growth since 2000, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The gains continued into the new year, with 12,600 jobs added in January, bringing the unemployment rate to 4.6 percent, the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development said.
But the monthly jobs report relies on surveys and is considered preliminary. The annual employment data comes from the labor bureau’s benchmarking process examining records, making it the authoritative source.
Gov. Chris Christie, who has come under criticism for his fiscal stewardship of the state’s economy, celebrated the jobs figures Monday during a visit to LG Electronics in Englewood Cliffs. During his seven years as governor the state has added 313,100 private-sector jobs as it recovered from the Great Recession, he said. Christie pointed to the employment figures as validation of his conservative policies of rejecting tax increases while offering generous business tax breaks.
“What you’re seeing here is the effect of seven years of policies now going into effect,” Christie said.
The job growth, coupled with a high labor participation rate, means New Jersey is “winning on both sides,” he said.
Christie took office in 2010, a year after the recession technically ended, and inherited a 9.8 percent unemployment rate. The current rate of 4.6 percent is just below the national average of 4.7 percent. That, along with New Jersey’s job growth last year, should put an end to reporting that the state has lagged in the economic recovery, Christie said.
“I think we should stop the continuing drumbeat that somehow New Jersey has underperformed from a jobs perspective,” he said. “New Jersey is outperforming the nation in 2016 in job growth and outperforming the nation in terms of unemployment rate as well.”