Unemployment, TRANSFORMING OUR BUSINESS CLIMATE, Labor
GSI Analysis: May ’20 Jobs Report – NJ’s Job Market Rebounds in May but Significant Challenges Remain Ahead
On June 18th, New Jersey’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development issued the monthly jobs report for May 2020.
Dr. Charles Steindel, former Chief Economist of the State of New Jersey and current Resident Scholar, Anisfield School of Business at Ramapo College, analyzed the report for GSI:
“New Jersey had its’ full share of May’s rebound in jobs–our increase in private sector payrolls was about 3% of the nation’s rise, which is actually a bit higher than our fraction of U.S. jobs. That strength was something of a surprise, since the impression has been that we have been slower to reopen than many other states. That seemed to be the case in education and health, where our increase was low by national standards. However, leisure and hospitality, which had been utterly devastated in April, saw quite substantial rehiring in May, even though restaurant dining was still banned.
We shouldn’t get too starry-eyed over this report, though. The enormous job gain eliminated barely 10% of the plunge from February through April, and we are quite unlikely to see more months like May. Moreover, despite an improvement in May, the unemployment rate was a dismal 15.2%.”
According to the press release issued by the state, total nonfarm wage and salary employment in New Jersey increased by 86,800 in May to a seasonally adjusted level of 3,497,400, according to estimates produced by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This gain represents a little over 10% of the number of jobs lost in March and April due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the measures taken in response to it.
All of the gains were recorded in the private sector (+92,200) of the state’s economy as public sector employment contracted (-5,400). The state’s unemployment rate declined by 1.1 percentage points to 15.2%, down from a revised 16.3% in April. The release noted these estimates were based on surveys taken for the week including May 12, prior to the start of the relaxation of major measures that had been taken in response to the epidemic.