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The state’s unemployment rate increased by 0.2 percentage points from 3.7% to 3.9% in July, but the number of people entering the workforce grew by 1,000 jobs to a seasonally adjusted level of 4,335,100, according to preliminary government figures. 

Job growth was driven by the public sector, which saw an increase of 8,400 jobs. Those gains, however, were offset by the loss of 7,400 jobs in the private sector, the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development reported on Thursday. 

The state’s labor force participation rate, which captures the percentage of working-age people who are employed or actively seeking jobs, reached 65.5% in July, the highest rate in 10 years. 

Previous employment estimates for June were revised downward by 4,200 instead of the preliminary gains of 600 that had been reported last month. The June unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.7%. 

In July, four out of nine major private industry sectors recorded job growth, including construction (+2,400); education and health services (+2,100); trade, transportation, and utilities (+900); and financial activities (+500). 

Professional and business services (-5,400); leisure and hospitality (-5,300); other services (-2,400); and manufacturing (-100) recorded losses. The information sector was unchanged. 

The public sector recorded a seasonally adjusted gain of 8,300 jobs, mostly at the local level (+7,400) due to lower-than-expected summer losses from schools. 

Over the past 12 months, New Jersey has added 73,300 nonfarm jobs. These gains were distributed across several industries, with seven out of nine private sector industries recording a gain between July 2022 and July 2023. 

Industries experiencing job gains during this period include education and health services (+47,600); leisure and hospitality (+13,400); trade, transportation, and utilities (+6,800); construction (+4,800); other services (+2,200); manufacturing (+600); and information (+600). Losses were recorded in professional and business services (-14,800) and financial activities (-1,500). Year-over-year, the state’s public sector recorded an increase of 13,500 jobs. 

On Wednesday, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released its Job Opening and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) for June. The report showed the number of open jobs in New Jersey increased by 29,000 between May and June to 223,000. 

New Jersey and California were the only two states to experience an increase in their job openings rate (both +0.6 points) in June. The rate was little changed in 55 states and decreased in four states. The national job openings rate was unchanged in June.