Federal statistics show that New Jersey's labor underutilization — the number of people in the state either unemployed or underemployed — declined during 2019.

Bruce Bergman, regional economist for the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics New York/New Jersey Regional Office, says the rate of labor underutilization last year was 6.8% — and that's a positive.

"It's definitely a good sign for New Jersey," Bergman said last year. "We have the unemployment rate going down and we also have the number of marginally attached to the labor force going down."

He says included in the underutilization in New Jersey last year was 160,000 unemployed and 117,000 employed part time.

New Jersey was one of 18 states that had an increase in employment last year and one of 10 states with a significant unemployment rate decrease from 2018 to 2019.

Last year, 61.3% of the state's workforce was employed — and improvement of more than 1%..

Joe Cutter is the senior news anchor on New Jersey 101.5

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