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New Jersey’s Jobless Rate Drops Slightly [AUDIO]

Jersey’s unemployment rate dropped a tenth of a percent – from 9.9 to 9.8 percent last month.

Spencer Platt, Getty Images

Eleven hundred new private sector jobs were created, but new government figures show twenty-three hundred public sector positions were eliminated.

State Labor Commissioner Hal Wirths says, “We’ve still got a long way to go, but we are making employment progress in several sectors. Information and technology went up by twenty-nine hundred jobs and that has been hit hard, auto mechanics- smaller companies, hair dressers, that type had nice gains of thirty-two hundred, educational, health services continued to gain – up twleve hundred – but the bright spot was manufacturing- up nine hundred jobs.”

On the flip side, more than four thousand construction jobs were lost in September.

“The Jersey Comeback is happening,” says Wirths, “It’s not here- it’s started – there’s a lot of positive. The good news is we have a lot more people participating in our market, but the bad news is it keeps our unemployment rate high.”

He also points out we’ve had considerable downsizing in government, and we’re moving in the right direction.

“We lost over 247 thousand jobs and we’ve recuperated 34 percent of those jobs…No one is going to be happy until all of those jobs are – the quarter of a million that we lost are filled – or anybody who wants to work gets a job. But I think that we have filled 1 out of 3 lost jobs – we definitely have a lot more work to do.”

Vinnie Prieto, the Assembly Budget Committee Chair agrees.

“The only good news is that it’s moving in the right direction, which is down,” he says, “but one tenth of a percent-it’s not good because we’re still 2 full percentage points above the national average.”

He says, “The administration has to start putting the people of the Garden State first, and make sure these job packages – bills that we sent to them – that we start moving on them to see if we can spark the economy…The administration has to start working with us in a bipartisan way to make sure we get that unemployment rate in the right direction.”

Prieto adds the unemployment rate “has been over 9 percent for over 40 months, and that’s something that’s not doable for the residents of the state of New Jersey and it’s got to get better…It seems that New Jersey’s lagging behind the rest of the nation – and that’s why we have to get serious and really focus on New Jersey.”

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