ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY FOR ALL, Labor
GSI Analysis: March ’23 Jobs Report – New Jersey Job Count Drops in March as Workforce Grows
- 2,600 loss of jobs follows a comparable loss in February
- Unemployment rate unchanged at 3.5%, matching the U.S. average
- The state’s workforce rises sharply for a third straight month
On April 20th, New Jersey’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development issued the monthly jobs report for March 2023. Dr. Charles Steindel, former Chief Economist of the State of New Jersey, analyzed the report for the Garden State Initiative:
March saw disappointing results for New Jersey’s job count. There was a 2,600 jobs decline, and the modest increase originally reported for February was revised downward to show a decrease of 3,100. Leisure and Hospitality, up 2,100, was the only major sector to see a notable rise in March. The largest decline was the 3,500 in Professional and Business Services. This decline was centered in the support component, which includes landscape services. It’s possible that much of this reflected the weather; March in New Jersey was fairly chilly, following unusual warmth in February. The other notable decline was the 1,200 jobs loss in the grab bag category of “Other” Services. Finance jobs edged down 300, suggesting that there was no marked spillover here from the banking crisis.
While the jobs number was disappointing, the numbers on the state’s labor force, employment of residents, and unemployment, were good. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.5%, matching the national average. The state’s labor force rose 18,300 in March, marking the third straight month with an increase of more than 10,000. The 64.8% labor force participation rate was higher than the pre-pandemic cyclical peak of 64.5%. Resident employment rose 16,500; over the last year it has increased by more than 130,000.
Concern continues over whether the national economy will soon slip into recession. The fairly moderate job losses we’ve had the last two months really don’t suggest that New Jersey is in one, but, of course, if the nation enters into a recession, New Jersey will see job losses.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics will issue its monthly “State Employment and Unemployment” report on Friday, April 21st, which offers a comparison of how New Jersey is faring relative to other states.