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NJ Unemployment Drops, But Struggles Continue [AUDIO]

New Jersey’s unemployment rate continues to drop, reaching it’s lowest level in four years at 8.7 percent with private sector employers adding 4,100 jobs in April.

Construction Of New Homes Falls To 8.5 Percent In January
Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

But, the construction and manufacturing sectors continue to struggle.

“Construction and manufacturing tend to lead a state or an economy out of a recession and we are still having a tough time in those areas in New Jersey,” said State Labor Commissioner Hal Wirths. “In construction, we only created 3,200 jobs for the year and in manufacturing, we’ve only created 2,900 jobs.”

Sandy recovery and in improvement in housing may help the construction sector.

“Construction across the nation has been lagging and new home starts just saw the first negative month in a while. But, in New Jersey, there are a lot of road projects going on across the state and rebuilding efforts as a result of Sandy, so that should help increase jobs in that sector.”

Durign the summer, unemployment rates tend to move up slightly.

“When the schools close, there is usually a spike as cafeteria workers and bus drivers and others are temporarily out of work. But, hopefully, they’re built into the seasonal numbers and the seasonal hiring down the shore and in our recreational areas will offset the increase. The formula that the Bureau of Labor Statistics uses tries to build in those layoffs and hiring increases, so hopefully that’ll balance out,” said Wirths.

But, exactly how those numbers will play out remains to be seen. With many shore towns still trying to get back on their feet post-Sandy, summer jobs may not be as prevalent as in the past.

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