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Despite adding 6,700 private sector jobs in August, New Jersey’s unemployment rate increased to 4.2% and is now 1.2% higher than it was a year ago, the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development said on Thursday. 

Total nonfarm employment grew by 12,300 jobs last month, with about 42% of the total job gains (5,600) occurring in the public sector, the DOL said, using the preliminary estimates provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

The previous preliminary employment estimates for July were also revised downward by 5,200 jobs for a June-July loss of 4,200 jobs. The revision did not affect the July unemployment rate, which remained at 3.9%.  

In August, job gains in the private sector occurred in seven out of nine major private industry sectors: leisure and hospitality (+1,700), professional and business services (+1,500), education and health services (+1,400), other services (+1,100), manufacturing (+800), information (+600), and financial activities (+400). Public sector job gains occurred mainly at the local level. 

 New Jersey’s labor force participation rate, which measures the percentage of working age adults who are employed or actively seeking work, was unchanged at 65.5% in August. A year ago, in August of 2022, the labor force participation rate was 64.2%. 

Over the past 12 months, New Jersey has added 67,300 nonfarm jobs. These gains were distributed across several industries, with seven out of nine private sector industries recording gains between July 2022 and July 2023: Education and health services (+45,600), leisure and hospitality (+13,600), trade, transportation, and utilities (+4,100), construction (+3,100), other services (+2,900), manufacturing (+1,200), and information (+700).  

Losses between July of 2022 and July of 2023 have been recorded in professional and business services (-14,000) and financial activities (-1,700). Year-over-year, the state’s public sector recorded an increase of 11,700 jobs.