New Jersey Newsroom

March Job Loss In N.J. Ends 6-Month Growth

4,500 people found work, jobless rate remains at 9%

New Jersey Newsroom — Thursday, April 19, 2012


An unexpectedly high number of New Jerseyans — 11,900 — lost their jobs in March while another 4,500 found work, including 3,100 in government, according to figures released Thursday by the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

The job loss figure put an end to six consecutive months of private sector job growth. The state's unemployment rate remains unchanged at 9 percent.

Average weekly earnings declined by $16.14 to $791.59.

The figures mean that while over 3.8 million New Jerseyans are working, another 409,100 are jobless.

The high number of job losses is not good news to Gov. Chris Christie who has been stating that his administration has helped improve New Jersey's economy.

"New Jersey's economy has expanded steadily throughout the first two years of the Christie administration, creating thousands of private sector jobs," state Chief Economist Charles Steindel said Thursday. "The majority of indicators suggest that New Jersey employment growth will continue over the long term, creating a stronger economy for everyone."

In March, employment contracted in seven of ten private sector industry so-called supersectors while three registered gains.

Industries that recorded the largest job losses included, professional and business services (-4,000), construction (-3,200), education and health services (-1,800), manufacturing (-1,500) and financial activities (-1,400). In professional and business services, all three components realized lower payrolls over the month: professional, scientific and technical services (-1,900), administrative support/waste management/remediation (-1,800), and management of companies (-300).

In construction, less than seasonally expected hiring - labor officials say it was probably due to the mild weather which kept projects going through the first two months of the year - resulted in the downward movement. The loss in education and health services was entirely in the education services (-2,300) segment while the drop in manufacturing was concentrated in the durable goods (-1,700) component. Employment in financial activities was lower in both finance and insurance (-800) and real estate, rental and leasing (-600).

Small employment gains were evidenced in information (+800), other services (+500) and trade, transportation and utilities (+100). Public sector employment in March was higher by 3,000, due entirely to increases at the local government level (+3,100). Local government employment includes county, municipal and local government education.

Citing the high number of lost jobs, advocates at New Jersey Citizen Action called on Christie to "stop giving away money to corporations and millionaires, and start enacting policies that help New Jersey's working families."

Policy Coordinator Jeff Brown said, "This is proof that the governor's policies aren't working. Instead of calling for policies that could help the middle-class, like real property tax relief and an immediate restoration of the Earned Income Tax Credit, our governor gave out billions of dollars in subsidies to corporations, and proposed a budget that helps out millionaires and billionaires more than the average citizen.

"If we restored the Earned Income Tax Credit right away, we could put $300 in the pockets of the people who will actually go out and spend it and stimulate the economy," Brown said. "Instead, the governor's budget calls for an income tax cut that will give millionaires over $7,500 dollars and cost the state $1.5 billion, while the average family will get less than $100. This sort of 'trickle-down' economics doesn't work, and March's employment numbers prove that," Brown added. "We need policies that will bailout the middle-class and invest in our future, not hand-outs for corporate America that cost our state vital jobs."

Over the month, the unadjusted workweek for production workers decreased 0.6 hour to 41.1 hours, average hourly earnings were lower by $0.11 to $19.26. Compared to March of last year, the unadjusted workweek increased by 1.0 hour, average hourly earnings increased by $0.30, and weekly earnings were higher by $31.29.

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