The New Jersey unemployment rate ticked down a tenth of a percent last month – from 9.7 to 9.6 percent - but state Labor Commissioner Hal Wirths says the new numbers are actually a very positive sign.

He says, “We had a record amount of jobs - 30,900 created,  and the very encouraging thing is they’re all in the private sector - it’s the largest number recorded since the Bureau of Labor Statistics has been using this format since 1990, so it’s a very, very good month coming off of Sandy.”

Wirths adds our unemployment rate continues to stay high because the labor participation rate – the number of people looking for work – keeps going up – but overall the trend is good, and he expects the numbers to soon reflect that. 

Job gains last month were recorded in all of Jersey’s major private industry sectors, including manufacturing.

The national unemployment rate is now at 7.8 percent.