Unemployment, TRANSFORMING OUR BUSINESS CLIMATE, Labor
GSI Analysis: April ’22 Jobs Report – New Jersey’s Labor Market Continues its Rebound
Unemployment declines to 4.1%, but still higher than the nation’s 3.6%
95% of jobs lost in pandemic have been regained
Labor force still low, but April gain reverses some recent declines
On May 19th, New Jersey’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development issued the monthly jobs report for April 2022. Dr. Charles Steindel, former Chief Economist of the State of New Jersey, analyzed the report for the Garden State Initiative:
New Jersey gained 14,800 jobs in April, which was the 8th straight month to see an increase of at least 10,000. Over the last two years the state has regained nearly 700,000 jobs, which is equal to almost 95% of the loss from February to April 2020.
One disappointment in April was a loss of 2,600 construction jobs. It’s too early, though, to conclude that this reflects the impact of the recent increase in interest rates. All other sectors saw gains; particularly encouraging were marked increases in trade, transportation, and utilities, education and health services, and leisure and hospitality. These sectors contain many lower-wage jobs, and were particularly hard-hit by the pandemic.
The labor force and unemployment numbers were also good. The unemployment rate dropped only .1 percentage point, to 4.1% (still above the nation’s 3.6%). However, this occurred despite a marked 17,200 increase in the state’s labor force. Sluggishness or outright declines in the state’s labor force have long been a problem, and an increase such as this (which bought the level of the labor force to a bit above December’s, reversing some upsetting drops in recent months) was welcome news.
So far in 2022 New Jersey’s job performance has been relatively impressive. From December to April our job numbers have increased 1.8%, beating the nation’s 1.4% increase. We don’t have April numbers for our neighbors, but from December to March our job growth was higher than New York, Pennsylvania, and Delaware, and matched Massachusetts.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics will issue its monthly “State Employment and Unemployment” report on Friday, May 20th, which offers a comparison of how New Jersey is faring relative to other states.