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NJ Jobless Rate Holds Steady At 9 Percent, But There Is Good News [AUDIO]

The state Labor Department reports Jersey’s jobless rate held steady at 9 percent in February, for the third month in a row. But there’s some good news to report.

Unemployed Workers
Joe Raedle, Getty Images

New Jersey Labor Commissioner Hal Wirths says private sector jobs increased by 97 hundred in February – while the public sector lost a thousand jobs.

“It’s the 6th consecutive month in a row that we’ve had private sector job growth” he says, “for the year- February to February, we’ve created over 50 thousand private sector jobs in New Jersey…and since the first full month of Governor Christie’s administration, we’ve created over 74 thousand 500 private sector jobs…things are definitely trending up and we’re feeling good about it.”

He says the state unemployment rate remains at 9 percent because “in New Jersey we have more and more people joining the workforce – so that skews the number…New Jersey traditionally has always had a higher worker participation rate than the rest of the nation, so look, we’re not happy with it – it’s stubbornly high – but the good news is New Jerseyans feel better, more optimistic about their chances of getting a job.”

Wirths points out many different segments of the economy are improving – including “the professional business services – we had a gain of 37 hundred jobs, hospitality and leisure we had 31 hundred, and private education and health services went up 25 hundred…we’re creating good paying jobs, and as the Governor has said, the comeback has begun, and I think 10 out of 12 months or 6 months in a row is definitely a trend.”

He adds “it shows that a lot of the Christie pro-business attitude and people feeling better about New Jersey is working – I saw the survey the other day- it’s the first time in a decade that New Jerseyans felt like NJ is on the right track.”

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