From the Record:
New Jersey got a double portion of positive employment news Tuesday: Not only did the state add 12,400 jobs in January, but it turns out that it added more jobs than first estimated in both 2013 and 2014.
Even so, the state has lagged the nationwide pace of job creation, and still has replaced only about 65 percent of the jobs that vanished during and after the recession.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which annually revises state jobs data, reported that New Jersey added 35,500 jobs last year, up from earlier estimates of 29,000. The revision for 2013 was more dramatic: Instead of the 18,800 added jobs originally reported, the BLS said the state actually added more than twice that many – 39,300.
The revised numbers indicate “a much more robust job performance in the state” than earlier numbers suggested, said Joseph Seneca, a Rutgers economist.
In January, the addition of 12,400 jobs left the unemployment rate at 6.3 percent, unchanged from December but down from 7.1 percent in January 2014.
But even with the more positive job-creation numbers, the state’s unemployment rate in January was higher than the 5.7 percent national rate; the state rate has been consistently higher than the national level since 2011. Thirty-five states had lower unemployment rates than New Jersey in January.
And while the U.S. has more than recovered all the jobs lost during and after the 2007-2009 recession, the Garden State has now recovered just about 60 percent to 65 percent of its vanished jobs, according to James Hughes, a Rutgers economist.
“We’re moving forward, but we’re a long way behind the national growth rate,” Hughes said.
Patrick O’Keefe, an economist with CohnReznick, an accounting firm in New York and Roseland, said with the revised numbers, the state’s job market has gone “from a snail’s pace to a tortoise’s pace.”