Record-low unemployment in NJ with private-sector boom
New Jersey's unemployment rate has dipped to a new record low of 3.1% as of September, according to figures from the state Department of Labor and Workforce development.
The that is the state's lowest jobless rate since the start of record-keeping in 1976.
Rutgers Economist and Distinguished Professor James Hughes says the state's jobless rate has been dropping significantly over the past two years.
"Basically, unemployment gains have been slow but steady. We're not having the levels of job growth. And again it may well be due to labor force shortages that we had in past expansions," Hughes said.
"In order to have a job you have to have a body to sell it. And each month we do have unfilled job openings that could be filled by somebody. But it's not counted as a job until it's filled. What we have at the national level are record levels of unfilled jobs and the number of unfilled jobs are greater than the number of unemployed. So essentially, there are more job openings than people."
According to Labor and Workforce Development, there were employment gains in September in services with 3,100 jobs; leisure and hospitality with 2,200 jobs; financial activities with 1,000 jobs; construction with 500 jobs; and manufacturing with 500 jobs.
Sectors that lost positions included professional and business services with 4,100 jobs; trade, transportation and utilities with 1,100 jobs; information with 800 jobs; and education and health services with 400 jobs.
Public sector employment was lower by 1,100 jobs, mainly at the state level.
Hughes says the jobs boom is uncharted territory.
"The expansion is now 124 months old. The previous record was 120 months. We've never been in an expansion where we're in the second decade of growth, so we're not exactly sure where we are."
Joe Cutter is the senior news anchor on New Jersey 101.5