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New Jersey’s unemployment rate increased for the fifth month in a row in September, edging up by 0.2 percentage points to 4.4% even as businesses added 7,700 new jobs, the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development said on Thursday. 

The private sector accounted for 6,200 of those jobs with most of the September gains occurring in health services (+7,600), other services (+1,100), and manufacturing (+900). The private-sector job gains were offset, however, by losses in other industries, including construction (-1,600), professional and business services (-800), information (-800), and financial activities (-200). 

Employment in leisure and hospitality as well as the trade, transportation, and utilities sector recorded no change for the month. The public sector recorded a seasonally adjusted gain of 1,500 jobs. 

The latest data downwardly revises August payroll growth to 9,800. That figure is 2,500 less than the previous preliminary estimate of 12,300 new jobs for August. 

The state’s new 4.4% unemployment rate exceeds the national average of 3.8% for September. New Jersey’s unemployment rate is now 1.2 percentage points higher than the 3.2% state unemployment rate recorded in September 2022.  

The New Jersey employment-to-population ratio, which compares the number of people with jobs to the state’s total working-age population, fell from a seasonally adjusted 62.8% in August to 62.5% in September. The labor force participation rate, which measures the percentage of working-age people either employed or actively looking for work, declined from 65.5% in August to 65.4% in September.  

Over the past 12 months, New Jersey has added 65,000 nonfarm jobs. These gains were distributed across several industries, with seven out of nine private sector industries recording a year-over-year gain from September 2022 to September 2023. Those industries are education and health services (+52,000); leisure and hospitality (+10,800); other services (+4,200); trade, transportation, and utilities (+2,700); manufacturing (+1,700); construction (+700); and information (+300). 

Losses have been recorded over the past 12 months in professional and business services (-16,100) and financial activities (-2,800). The state’s public sector recorded an increase of 11,400 jobs over the same 12-month period. 

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