ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY FOR ALL, Labor
GSI Analysis: Feb. ’23 Jobs Report – Mixed Results as Jobs Increase Offset by January Revision
- Increase in job count offset by downward revision to January job gains
- Disappointing drop in Leisure and Hospitality sector
- Another uptick in unemployment, again the result of growth in the labor force
On March 23rd, New Jersey’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development issued the monthly jobs report for February 2023. Dr. Charles Steindel, former Chief Economist of the State of New Jersey, analyzed the report for the Garden State Initiative:
New Jersey’s payrolls rose 4,600 from January to February. Normally, that would be regarded as a modest increase; however, there was a more-than-offsetting downward revision of 4,800 to the January estimate. Still, there were 105,400 more jobs in the state this February than in February 2022.
Most sectors reported small to moderate increases in jobs; however, there was a 1,600 drop in Leisure and Hospitality, which leaves that sector about 10,000 jobs shy (roughly 2 .5%) of its February 2020 peak—in line with the national gap.
For a second straight month New Jersey’s unemployment rate ticked up 0.1 percentage point, and now stands at 3.5%. The national increase was from 3.4% to 3.6%, meaning that our unemployment rate is again a touch lower. As was the case in January, the increase in New Jersey’s unemployment rate was the result of an increase in the labor force outstripping the increase in employment of New Jersey residents. The labor force gain was 17,400, which is the largest since last April. The labor force participation rate was 64.5%, matching its recent August 2020 high. Resident employment rose 12,500 in February, for its largest gain since August.
While some of the numbers in February were less sparkling than we have recently seen, the overall picture suggests that for the moment New Jersey’s labor situation remains strong. The banking turmoil has come upon us so recently that it could only possibly be evident starting with the April data, and it is also quite unclear as to whether these developments will have meaningful effects.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics will issue its monthly “State Employment and Unemployment” report on Friday, March 24th, which offers a comparison of how New Jersey is faring relative to other states.