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New Jersey’s unemployment rate increased to 4.6% in October, marking the sixth consecutive monthly increase in the jobless rate, which a year ago stood at 3.3%, according to data released Thursday by state labor officials. 

According to the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development, the preliminary employment data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics paints a “mixed labor market picture” in New Jersey. 

 Nonfarm employment grew by 6,600 jobs in October (including 5,400 in the private sector) to reach a seasonally adjusted level of 4,353,000. However, the ranks of the unemployed increased by 8,900 to 223,200 and the state’s labor force participation rate edged downward 0.2 percentage points from 65.4% in September to 65.2% on seasonally adjusted basis. 

NJDOL also reported that September’s preliminary estimates that showed a gain of 7,700 jobs in was revised downward to 6,700 but that this change did not impact the previously reported state unemployment rate for September (4.4%). 

In October, job gains in the private sector were concentrated in six out of nine major private industry sectors: professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, other services, trade, transportation, and utilities, education and health services, and information. 

Job losses were recorded in the manufacturing and financial activities sectors during October, while construction recorded no change for the month. 

Over the past 12 months, New Jersey has added 85,700 nonfarm jobs. These gains were distributed across the board, with eight out of nine private sector industries recording a gain between October 2022 and October 2023. 

These industries were: education and health services (+45,500), leisure and hospitality (+14,400), trade, transportation, and utilities (+4,700), other services (+2,700), construction (+2,700), manufacturing (+2,100), information (+1,600), and financial activities (+300). Professional and business services (-5,200) was the only sector to record a year-over-year loss. Over the year, the state’s public sector recorded an increase of 16,800 jobs. 

New Jersey’s unemployment rate exceeds the nationwide jobless rate of 3.9% for October. 

The federal government is scheduled to release a detailed breakdown of October unemployment data for all 50 states and the District of Columbia on Friday, Nov. 17. A month ago, September’s report showed New Jersey was tied with Illinois for having the nation’s fourth-highest unemployment rate (4.4%) behind California (4.7%); the District of Columbia (5.0%) and Nevada (5.4%).