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Jobless Rate And NJ Unemployment Heading Downward [AUDIO]

Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

Is there a light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to New Jersey’s economy?

The state unemployment rate has gone down for a third straight month. The State Labor Department says the rate dipped by 0.1 percentage point in October to 9.1 percent. Meanwhile, jobless claims dropped to their lowest level in seven months according to U.S. government data.

Despite the numbers, it doesn’t mean we are out of the woods just yet. “We still have a very weak labor market in New Jersey,” said Patrick O’Keefe, Director of Economic Research at J.H. Cohn in Roseland. “In fact, total employment in New Jersey is the same as it was in June of this past summer. I think the state’s labor market has stabilized, there is a little bit of upward momentum but it’s not sustainable right now.”

Preliminary figures show the Garden State added 2,500 nonfarm jobs in October. The private sector added 4,000 jobs but 1,500 were lost in the public sector.

“Month to month, there have been some grudging gains, but nothing that indicates that we’re gaining sufficient momentum,” said O’Keefe. “The little gains that we’ve seen recently certainly aren’t enough to carry us forward.”

The Labor Department said seasonally adjusted initial jobless claims dropped 5,000 to 388,000. Applications need to consistently drop below 375,000 to signal sustained job gains. They haven’t been that low since February.


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