Employers in New Jersey added 4,600 jobs in June, but the unemployment rate still increased slightly, ending four consecutive months of improvement.

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The State Labor Department announced Thursday that the unemployment rate for June was 8.7 percent, one-tenth of a point higher than in May. Private sector job gains were posted in five of the nine major industry sectors, while four recorded a loss.

"Traditionally in the summer time, the unemployment rate does tend to tick up because of all the new high school and college graduates joining the labor market. In fact, we've actually had more than 8,100 people join the market since May," said State Labor Commissioner Hal Wirths. "We added 4,600 jobs in June, but the unemployment rate dropped nine-tenths of a point the last several months which was the biggest drop since 1977."

"We have had continuous job growth over the last several months and we've created many jobs for the year, and those numbers continue to go up."

Industries with job growth included:

  • Leisure and Hospitality - 3,500
  • Professional and Business Services - 1,900
  • Financial Activities -1,800
  • Education and Health Services- 1,200
  • Construction - 400

Jobs were lost in trade, transportation and utilities, information, manufacturing and other services.

Despite the uptick in the unemployment rate, the state's employers have added to their payrolls in nine of the last eleven months, increasing total non-farm jobs by 74,800 over the past year. Since February 2010, the private sector has added 148,600 jobs.

"Putting together May and June, New Jersey created more than 21,000 new jobs over the last two months, continuing its recent impressive performance. Overall resident employment also rose in June and shows a marked gain over the past year, and the unemployment rate remains a full point under last year's peak," said Charles Steindel, Chief Economist for the New Jersey Department of Treasury.