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New Jersey’s unemployment rate declined from 7.3% to 7.2% in August, as the number of nonfarm jobs increased by 20,300 to a seasonally adjusted level of 3,981,000, according to preliminary estimates from the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics.

This means the state has recovered 468,600 jobs, or about 65%, of the total jobs lost in March and April of 2020 when the coronavirus pandemic began and led to state-mandated business closures and operating restrictions. The increase in nonfarm wage and salary employment in August marked the eighth straight month of job gains.

However, New Jersey’s 7.2% unemployment rate for August is still considerably higher than the 5.2% national unemployment rate.

Based on more complete reporting from employers, previously released total nonfarm employment estimates for July were revised higher to show an over-the-month (June – July) increase of 21,200 jobs.  Preliminary estimates indicated an over-the-month gain of 14,600 jobs. The state’s July unemployment rate was unchanged, at 7.3%.

The August increase was split between the private (+10,200) and public (+10,100) sectors of the state’s economy. In the private sector, six out of nine major sectors recorded job gains: professional and business services (+3,700); education and health services (+3,100); leisure and hospitality (+2,700); manufacturing (+1,900); construction (+500); and financial activities (+200).

Sectors that recorded job losses included other services (-1,200); trade, transportation, and utilities (-500); and information (-200).

Over the month, public sector employment increased by 10,100 jobs, mainly at the local level (+9,400) due to increases in local public education employment.

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