From the APP:
New Jersey’s job market was flat in July, but even if employers were in hiring mode, they’d have a tough time finding workers to fill the jobs.
That’s because the state’s unemployment rate dipped to 3.3% in July from 3.5% in June, the state’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development reported last week, setting a new record low.
“We’re in the recreational business, and the economy is strong,” said Kevin Carlin, a spokesman for Micro-Air Inc., an Allentown-based company that makes electronic circuit boards and is trying to hire two employees.
The monthly unemployment report last week was mixed. It showed New Jersey lost 500 jobs with losses in leisure and hospitality and gains in fields like professional services and manufacturing.
New Jersey has been trying to climb out of an economic hole for the better part of two decades, making the transition to the digital age while navigating obstacles from the end of Atlantic City’s monopoly on gambling to the devastation of superstorm Sandy.
Recent economic data offers both glimmers of hope and echoes of the same old story.
Good news? Wages and salaries in the metropolitan New York area, which includes northern New Jersey, rose 3.9% during the past year, faster than the U.S. average and the strongest performance since the Bureau of Labor Statistics started tracking it in 2006.
Bad news? The state’s personal income, which includes not just wages and salaries, but also government benefits such as Social Security, has grown 1.1 percent during the past year, ranking 42nd nationwide, an analysis by Pew Charitable Trusts found.
The jobs report for New Jersey offered little clarity. Over the year, the state has added 48,300 jobs for a growth rate that ranks 26th nationwide, according to an analysis of data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“That suggests that … job growth would be higher if there were more people to fill open slots,” Rutgers University economist James W. Hughes said.