GSI Analysis: Jan '19 Jobs Report: Downward Revision in Job Growth a Sign of Weak NJ Economy

  • New jobs in 2018 revised downward 44% - from 61,900 to 39,400

  • Labor force remains smaller than average labor force in 2006

  • Participation rate continues to trail national average

  • Unemployment ticked up .1 to 4.0%

According to Garden State Initiative (GSI)  analysis of the newest jobs numbers released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) today, New Jersey’s job growth for 2018 was much smaller than first reported.  Instead of the previously reported 61,900 new jobs added in 2018, there were actually only 39,400 new jobs added last year - a decline of 44%. (The Bureau of Labor Statistics revises jobs statistics on a monthly and annual basis to account for new data available and more in-depth analysis that is able to take place.)

The revised numbers from BLS mean that while New Jersey did still experience jobs growth for 2018, the actual growth was lower by 27,500 jobs than initially reported.  New Jersey’s labor force is still smaller than the average labor force size in 2006.

“This anemic report, with substantial downwards revision to the jobs created in 2018, is yet another cause for alarm over the resiliency of New Jersey’s economy,” said Regina M. Egea, president of the Garden State Initiative. “Despite the first increase in the workforce participation rate in over a year, New Jersey is still lagging the US average  and while Wall Street continues a bull market, our Financial Activities sector led in job losses for the year.”

Some of the additional highlights from this month’s jobs report include:

  • The state’s unemployment rate ticked up slightly by .1 percentage points to 4 percent. The increasing unemployment rate is largely due to significantly more people reporting being unemployed in January.

  • Leisure and Hospitality and Professional and Business Services gained the most jobs in January with 8,100 jobs added and 7,900 jobs added respectively.

  • Financial Activities and Other Services lost the most jobs in January with 1,300 jobs lost and 1,500 jobs lost respectfully. In 2018, the Financial Activities sector has seen the biggest job losses in New Jersey.

  • Lastly, New Jersey’s labor force participation rate rose slightly by .1 percentage point in January to 62.5 percent which is  nearly a full percentage point below the national labor force participation rate of 63.2 percent.

Even Jerome Powell, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, observed just yesterday on 60 Minutes, that: “We have an unusually large number of people in their prime working years who are not in the labor force. The United States has a lower labor force participation rate than almost every other advanced country. That is not our self-image as a country.”

Prior to the end of 2017, NJ’s Participation Rate was ABOVE the US Average.  New Jersey is headed in the wrong direction.