New Jersey’s economic recovery is hindered by the elimination of 61,200 local and state government jobs and Republican Governor Chris Christie’s spending cuts, according to a report issued today.
The 2011 average unemployment rate of 9.3 percent would have been 8 percent with those public positions untouched, according to the study by New Jersey Policy Perspective, a nonpartisan Trenton nonprofit that analyzes issues affecting residents with low to moderate incomes.
During and since the 18-month recession that ended in June 2009, governments across the nation cut jobs as tax revenue fell. The number of public jobs in 2011 shrank by 1.3 percent, about 280,000 positions, according to data from the U.S. Department of Commerce. More than half those positions were with local and state governments.
New Jersey has the fourth-highest jobless rate in the U.S. The August tally, 9.9 percent, was the state’s worst in 35 years. The national rate was 8.1 percent that month.
“The trend in unemployment is beyond dispute,” wrote Raymond Castro, a senior policy analyst.
Government jobs returned to New Jersey after past recessions, the study said. This time, their failure to reappear is stopping companies from hiring, too, the report said.