From the APP:
New Jersey employers added 25,900 jobs in February, the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development reported Thursday, continuing the job market’s rapid recovery from the early days of the pandemic.
The job growth helped the unemployment rate drop to 4.6% from 5.1% in January. Part of that decline was due to fewer people actively looking for work.
But employers that once offered minimum wage now are offering upwards of $17 an hour, a sign that job hunters continue to have the upper hand.
February’s jobs report was the strongest since last July and showed that New Jersey is making up ground.
Through February, New Jersey recovered 89.9% of the jobs it lost in March and April of 2020, while the U.S. recovered 90.4%, according to Rutgers University economist James W. Hughes.
Job growth in February was spread across most sectors. Trade, transportation and utilities added 9,000 jobs; leisure and hospitality added 5,200 jobs; and education and health services added 4,300 jobs.
Financial activities was flat, and the public sector lost 300 jobs.
The recovery has left some sectors faring better than others. Trade, transportation and utilities, a sector that includes New Jersey’s hot warehouse industry, has more than made up for the jobs it lost in March and April 2020, according to the February report.
Leisure and hospitality remains 4.5% below its pre-pandemic peak. It’s not for a lack of trying. In Brick alone, Five Guys is offering up to $17.50 an hour for crew members, while Houlihan’s is advertising a signing bonus of $250 for servers, hosts and hostesses and bussers.