According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, October marked the tenth consecutive month of nonfarm job gains in New Jersey. The state’s private sector employers added more than 38,000 jobs during the past two months, and overall, New Jersey has now recovered 512,900 jobs, or about 72%, of the number of jobs lost in March and April 2020 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite these gains, there does remain a disconnect when it comes to the state’s unemployment rate, which currently sits at 7%, well above the national average of 4.6%, and the number of job openings in the state, of which there are approximately 300,000.
There are a host of reasons as to why people aren’t going back to work, including child care concerns and now-expired unemployment benefits, but the overall feeling among panelists at the New Jersey Business & Industry Association’s (NJBIA) 2022 Public Policy Forum is that over time, more people will end up reentering the workforce as the state continues to recover from the effects of the pandemic.
“There is still a level of optimism,” said Choose NJ President and CEO Jose Lozano, during a panel discussion at NJBIA’s Public Policy Forum, held at the Delta Hotels by Marriott Woodbridge. “We still have a significant number of companies coming to New Jersey, and still hiring and adding more jobs.”
He said that New Jersey’s well-documented benefits such as its desirable location and highly educated workforce remain attractive to companies despite the state’s current unemployment rate, and, more importantly, its high taxes.
“This region is still the choice region for international companies looking to expand into the US,” Lozano said. “Companies are looking to build the workforce of tomorrow, and the workforce of tomorrow really values some of the things that we in New Jersey take for granted, such as being a great place to raise a family and great school systems.”