Gov. Phil Murphy is giving thumbs up on the Garden State economy.

During a stop in New Brunswick on Thursday, he said new data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows employment levels in the Garden State continue to grow, while unemployment has dropped to 3.5%.

“That is the lowest ever seasonably adjusted rate since the state began its current record keeping in 1976," he said.

“That’s lower than when our economy was roaring in the 1980s. It is lower than when we were riding high in the dot-com wave in the 1990s."

Murphy said said the Jersey economy is starting to really pick up steam.

“Nearly 4.3 million New Jerseyans today are working, a gain of more than 10,000 from just May to June of this year, and more than 45,000 in the past year.”

He also pointed out over the past 18 months private sector employment has grown by over 61,000 jobs.

“What these numbers show clearly is our efforts to grow our economy the right way are paying real dividends.”

He said efforts to expand apprenticeship program that lead to good jobs are paying off.

“In a tightening labor market, we’re doing all we can to fully develop both talent pipelines for employers, and at the same time career pathways for employees.”

Murphy said many Jersey residents are seeing pay raises, guaranteed sick days, expanded family leave programs and stronger pay protections.

“We are investing in all of the things that make our state great, our people, our location, our values and our infrastructure, to name just a few.”

But he also said we are starting to hear warnings about a possible economic slowdown.

“Those warnings are all the more reason we need to take action to secure our economic future by investing in tomorrow, and putting in place the sustainable economic and fiscal practices we need to weather any recession.”

He said he remains committed to the values of “targeted investment in our people and responsible fiscal management.”

The state Department of Labor and Workforce Development reports that in June, employment increases were recorded in eight out of nine major private industry sectors.

Professional and business services added 3,000 jobs; trade, transportation, and utilities added 2,600 jobs; manufacturing added 1,000 jobs; information  added 800 jobs; education and health services added 800 jobs; construction added 700 jobs; leisure and hospitality added 600 jobs.

You can contact reporter David Matthau at

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