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TRENTON – According to estimates released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, total nonfarm wage and salary employment in New Jersey decreased by 31,800 in March to a seasonally adjusted level of 4,210,100. Both the private (-22,300) and public (-9,500) sectors of the state’s economy recorded losses. Despite the employment decrease, the state’s unemployment rate held steady for March at 3.8 percent. It should be noted that these estimates were based on surveys taken for the week including March 12th, predating many coronavirus-related business and school closures that took place in the second half of the month, so the state expects downward adjustments to employment in future reports. See technical notes at the end of this release for further information about the impact of the coronavirus on this month’s estimates.

Looking at the longer term, over the year, March 2019 – March 2020, employment in New Jersey was higher by 19,900, with the gains concentrated in the private sector (+25,400).

Based on more complete reporting from employers, previously released total nonfarm employment estimates for February were revised lower by 2,000 to show an over-the-month (January – February) increase of 1,100 jobs.  Preliminary estimates had indicated an over-the-month gain of 3,100 jobs. The state’s revised February unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.8 percent.

In March, employment losses were recorded in seven out of nine major private industry sectors. Industry sectors that lost jobs include leisure and hospitality (-14,800), professional and business services (-3,600), education and health services (-2,500), financial activities (-1,000), trade, transportation, and utilities (-700), information (-600), and construction (-100). Industry sectors that added jobs for the month include manufacturing (+900) and other services (+100). Over the month, public sector employment was lower by 9,500.

Preliminary BLS data for April 2020 will be released on May 21, 2020.


Technical Notes: For further information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics regarding the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on industry employment and unemployment estimates please visit:

Estimates of industry employment and unemployment levels are arrived at through the use of two different monthly surveys.

Industry employment data are derived through the Current Employment Statistics (CES) survey, a monthly survey of approximately 4,000 New Jersey businesses conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of the U.S. Department of Labor, which provides estimates of employment, hours, and earnings data broken down by industry for the nation as a whole, all states and most major metropolitan areas (often referred to as the “establishment” survey).

Resident employment and unemployment data are mainly derived from the New Jersey portion of the national Current Population Survey (CPS), a household survey conducted each month by the U.S. Census Bureau under contract with BLS, which provides input to the Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) program (often referred to as the “household” survey).

Both industry and household estimates are revised each month based on additional information from updated survey reports compiled by the BLS. In addition, these estimates are benchmarked (revised) annually based on actual counts from New Jersey’s Unemployment Compensation Law administrative records and more complete data from all New Jersey employers.

Effective with the release of January 2018 estimates, the Current Employment Statistics (CES) program has converted to concurrent seasonal adjustment, which uses all available estimates, including those for the current month, in developing seasonal factors. Previously, the CES program developed seasonal factors once a year during the annual benchmark process.  For more information on concurrent seasonal adjustment in the CES State and Area program, see