New Jersey's unemployment rate dropped in May, the fourth consecutive month the rate fell.

According to figures from the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, the unemployment rate stood at 8.6 percent, a tenth of a percentage point lower than April's rate.

Overall, 15,400 private sector jobs were added in May.

"In general, the news is very good, and we are very encouraged by it.  We've had employment gains in 10 of the past 13 months and this is just a very big month for private sector job gains," said Hal Wirths, Commissioner for the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

Jobs were added in professional and business services, construction, education and health services and trade, transportation and utilities.  Job contraction occurred in manufacturing and financial activities.

Wirths said increased confidence is driving hiring.

"The businesses and the folks in New Jersey are feeling much more optimistic.  All the surveys are showing that New Jersey business owners and the citizens are feeling that New Jersey is on the right track.  There's no question that the public and most importantly the private employers are feeling much more confident in the rebound," Wirths said.

Over 145,000 jobs have been created since the low point of the recession in February 2010 according to Wirths.