From NJ Spotlight:
How much have Gov. Phil Murphy’s policies to do with the state’s unemployment rate, which recently dropped to the lowest level on record? A whole lot — according to the governor. Critics of the governor’s economic policies have a different take.
Murphy — a Democrat who enacted several tax hikes last year and has been pushing lawmakers for more ever since — took a victory lap following the release of the state’s latest jobs report, bragging that his economic policies were “clearly … paying real dividends.”
“Today, we can say, confidently, that New Jersey is moving in the right direction,” he said during a recent public event in New Brunswick the day the jobs numbers were made public. “It inspires me to continue working hard.”
New Jersey wasn’t the only state to set a record for low unemployment. Alabama, Arkansas and Texas — all states with Republican governors — also scored their respective historic lows in June, according to figures compiled by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Moreover, the broader trend for New Jersey’s unemployment rate also largely mirrors what’s been happening at the national level during President Donald Trump’s tenure, and even when President Barack Obama was in office. Trump, a Republican, has — like Murphy — not been shy about taking credit for the economic hot streak, which he’s linked to federal tax cuts and regulatory reforms.
“Clearly, our efforts to grow the economy the right way are paying real dividends,” Murphy said during the event in New Brunswick.
During the same event, state Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development Robert Asaro-Angelo highlighted the Murphy administration’s efforts to boost registered apprenticeship programs as an example of the governor’s approach to growing the economy. The total number of such apprenticeship programs has expanded by more than 30 percent since Murphy took office, Asaro-Angelo said.
“These investments across the state by employers concerned with not just their bottom line, but with the health and security of their workers, their families and their communities, are going a long way to make us a fairer and stronger New Jersey,” he said.