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New Jersey’s unemployment rate increased slightly to 5.2% in January, tying for the eighth highest unemployment rate in the United States, according to data released Monday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The national unemployment rate for January was 4%. 

The BLS said New Jersey experienced a “statistically insignificant” increase in its jobless rate of +0.1% compared to the month prior. Regionally, New Jersey’s 5.2% unemployment rate for January was slightly better than Pennsylvania’s (5.4%) as well as New York and Connecticut’s (both 5.3%). 

The highest unemployment rate in the nation was in the District of Columbia (6.3%) and the lowest was in Nebraska and Utah (both 2.2%). In all, 14 states (including New Jersey) and the District of Columbia have higher unemployment rates than the national average of 4%; 18 states have unemployment rates below the national average; and 14 states have rates that are not appreciably different than the national rate. 

On an annual basis, New Jersey’s 5.2% unemployment rate for January 2022 was 2.1 percentage points lower than it was in January 2021 when Garden State unemployment stood at 7.3%. Nevada is the state with the largest year-over-year change. The unemployment rate in Nevada dropped 5 percentage points from 10.3% in January of 2021 to 5.2% in January of 2022. 

Preliminary nonfarm wage and salary estimates for January showed New Jersey added 8,300 jobs for the month, reaching a seasonally adjusted level of 4,125,100. This follows an increase of 13,400 jobs in December and 25,400 new jobs in November. New Jersey has regained 85.9% of the jobs lost in March and April of 2020 due to the pandemic.