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Total nonfarm wage and salary employment in New Jersey increased by 86,800 in May to a seasonally adjusted level of 3,497,400, according to estimates produced by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This gain represents a little over 10 percent of the number of jobs lost in March and April due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the measures taken in response to it.

All of the gains were recorded in the private sector (+92,200) of the state’s economy as public sector employment contracted (-5,400). The state’s unemployment rate declined by 1.1 percentage points to 15.2 percent, down from a revised 16.3 percent in April. It should be noted these estimates were based on surveys taken for the week including May 12, prior to the start of the relaxation of major measures that had been taken in response to the epidemic. See the technical notes at the end of this release for further information about the impact of the pandemic on this month’s estimates.

Based on more complete reporting from employers, previously released total nonfarm employment estimates for April were revised higher by 1,500 to show an over-the-month (March – April) decrease of 756,200 jobs. Preliminary estimates had indicated an over-the-month loss of 757,700 jobs. These revisions mean that nonfarm employment losses for March and April totaled 831,300. The state’s revised April unemployment rate was revised higher by 1.0 percentage point to 16.3 percent.

In May, employment increases were recorded in eight out of nine major private industry sectors. Sectors that recorded an increase include leisure and hospitality (+30,500), manufacturing (+18,500), trade, transportation, and utilities (+16,700), construction (+14,100), professional and business services (+5,800), other services (+4,600), education and health services (+3,400), and financial activities (+200). The only sector to record a loss over the month was information (-1,600). Over the month, public sector employment was lower by 5,400, mainly due to losses at the local level (-7,000).