Unemployment, ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY FOR ALL, Labor
GSI Analysis: September ’23 Jobs Report – New Jersey Economic Recovery Backslides as Unemployment Continues to Rise, Job Growth Sluggish
- September unemployment rate of 4.4% highest since February 2022; labor force and resident employment both fall.
- 7,700 increase in payrolls offset by downward revision to August.
- New Jersey’s payroll numbers pale in comparison to the very strong national figure
On October 19th, New Jersey’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development issued the monthly jobs report for September 2023. Dr. Charles Steindel, former Chief Economist of the State of New Jersey, analyzed the report for the Garden State Initiative:
New Jersey’s labor market appears to be cooling off. The state’s unemployment rate rose from 4.2% in August to 4.4% in September, and both the labor force and the count of resident employment dropped. The 4.4% rate—noticeably higher than the national figure of 3.8%–is the highest since February 2022, and is up sharply from the low of 3.0% in August 2022.
The numbers on payroll employment were only moderately better. There was an increase of 7,700 from the revised August count. However, the estimate for August was reduced by 2,500. The most notably weak sectors in September were construction, where the job count fell by 1,600, or nearly 1% and information, with a loss of 800, or a bit over 1%. In contrast, education and health services rose 7,600, close to 1%. It’s possible the large increase here merely reflects some oddities of the timing of private school and college hires with the start of the school year. Public sector employment rose by 1,500; again, this may merely reflect new school staff coming on the books in September rather than August.
The recent numbers certainly put a damper on the state’s labor market recovery. While unemployment has drifted up modestly in the nation as a whole, the increase is much more noticeable here. Also, the somewhat soft payroll gain in September is in contrast to the very strong national figure.