From the APP:
New Jersey added 9,800 jobs and its unemployment remained a low 3.9% in June, the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development said Thursday in a sign that businesses and consumers have continued their robust spending despite the highest inflation levels in 40 years.
With the latest job gains, the Labor Department noted, New Jersey has recovered all of the 702,000 private-sector jobs that it lost during the first two months of the pandemic in 2020.
“Despite all the worries about inflation, worries about consumer spending, the state’s job market is still very, very strong,” Rutgers University economist James W. Hughes said.
The monthly unemployment report is made up of a survey of employer payrolls to measure the number of jobs and a survey of households to measure the unemployment rate. It is considered a key economic indicator, Hughes said, since employers will begin to cut back on hiring, or even lay off workers, if they see bleak prospects ahead.
New Jersey’s job market, like the nation’s, has recovered from the COVID-19 losses faster than economists expected thanks to a huge federal stimulus and record low interest rates that put money in consumers’ pockets, experts have said.
When the public sector is included, the Garden State through June regained 98% of the jobs it lost during the onset of the pandemic, in line with the U.S.
The state Labor Department said Thursday that New Jersey ended the first half of the year with 96,000 jobs, a pace slightly slower than last year, but still one that would be considered historically strong.
“In my view we just haven’t felt the effect of the rate rises yet, and the resulting recession is on its way,” said Jennifer Hunt, a Rutgers University economist. “But I admit to being very unsure — the strength of the last jobs report was quite surprising. Inflation itself isn’t a reason to think the labor market would be hurt; it is rather the interest rate rises.”