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NJ Unemployment Rate Rises Again [AUDIO]

The unemployment rate in the Garden state has inched up a tenth of a percent to 9.1%

Joe Raedle, Getty Images

The state Department of Labor and Workforce Development reports the private sector created 63 hundred new jobs last month, while the public sector lost 37 hundred positions, so the net gain was only 26 hundred jobs.

Pat O’Keefe, the Director of Economic Research at JH Cohn, says “the numbers tell us April was another month of sub-par job growth here in New Jersey – and very similar to what we’re seeing nationally…when we look at total employment, we gained a small number of jobs in April – just about offsetting the loss that we incurred in March.”

He says for the better part of 2 ½ to 3 years, job growth has been weak, and if we take a step back, “New Jersey- at the end of April- had almost 2 percent fewer jobs than back in January of 2000- at the beginning of the millennium…and compared to where we were immediately prior to the recession – back at the end of 2007- we’re approximately 200 thousand jobs below that pre-recession level…at the current rate we’re adding jobs – just taking the average job gain over the past 12 months – it will take us another 5 years to get back to where we were in December of 2007.”

O’Keefe adds nationally, the private sector “has added jobs for 26 consecutive months – here in New Jersey the private sector has been off again, on again in terms of adding jobs…the pace at which we’re doing it is reminiscent of a Yugo going up Pikes Peak- its moving very, very slowly and stopping quite frequently.”

He says what happens during a prolonged downturn is job-seekers become frustrated with the lack of opportunities, “and that frustration causes them to withdraw- to stop looking for work – one of the early signals that the labor market is improving is when we see people – previously discouraged job seekers – returning to the jobs market in the belief that there are opportunities out there…that may be happening now -and it may be why the unemployment rate is slightly higher – but we’re not sure….the job growth is so weak that it’s difficult to say with any certainty that people are coming back into the labor force because they think there are a lot of openings out there.”

The national unemployment rate has now fallen to 8-point-1 percent.

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