GSI Analysis: March '19 Jobs Report: Unemployment Slightly Increases on Weak Job Growth

  • Unemployment Rate Increases .1 to 4.1%

  • Economy adds 4,400 private sector jobs, sheds 800 public sector positions

  • Workforce grows by 7,400 but remains smaller than average labor force in 2006

  • Financial Activities & Information sectors lagging national trend

According to Garden State Initiative (GSI) analysis of the newest job numbers issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, although the state added 4,400 private sector jobs in March, the unemployment rate ticked up by .1 to 4.1%.

“A growing workforce and more private sector jobs are both positives,” said Regina M. Egea, president of the Garden State Initiative, “but the lack of consistent and substantial growth in either of those categories means that New Jersey is struggling to gain traction.”

Although the New Jersey labor force increased by 7,400 in March, it remains smaller than the average labor force size in 2006, before the last recession in 2008. While trending in the right direction, New Jersey needs to add tens of thousands of new individuals to our workforce over the next few months to catch up with the growth happening around us.

Of note, two of New Jersey's most valuable industries in terms of quality, middle/upper class jobs are the financial activities and information sectors which represent nearly 10% of our workforce. This month continues the trend we've seen of long- term weakness for both of those industries. The Financial Activities sector was unchanged in March but has lost 5,500 jobs (-2.19%) year over year. The Information sector reported a loss of 100 jobs last month but a loss of 3,300 jobs (-4.41%) year over year.

Both the financial activities sector and information sector should be adding thousands of jobs. They are growing nationally and New Jersey is uniquely positioned to win these sectors. But instead we're seeing stagnation and shrinking jobs when the national economy has been booming.