The State Jobs Report was released today and New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Harold Wirths told NJTV News Managing Editor Mike Schneider that New Jersey has recovered 48 percent of private sector jobs lost.
“The unemployment rate has fallen again to 7.1 and this is our fourth year in a row of private sector job growth. The unemployment rate has dropped 2.5 points in the last 19 months which is just very substantial. The December numbers were off substantially, almost 50 percent better than they appeared. The preliminary numbers really don’t mean much until they’re bench marked,” said Wirths.
He said that there was a continuous drop over the entire bench marking period and the highs that were reported turned out to be accurate. According to Wirths, preliminary numbers month to month don’t mean anything and people have to look at the overall trend. He said New Jersey is trending much closer to the federal levels with the labor participation rate and unemployment rate.
More than 65,000 private sector jobs have been created in the last two years and 120,000 private sector jobs since February 2010, Wirths said. He said that the situation is definitely improving and the drop in the unemployment rate is a very good sign.
Wirths said that 48 percent of the private sector jobs lost have been recovered. As for government jobs, he said that the government is shrinking and last year New Jersey was down 5,000 government jobs.
“We have a lot more work to do and we want to ensure that everyone looking for a job gets a job,” said Wirths.
Wirths said that a lot of economists are saying that the numbers are going to appear worse than they really were in December, January and February, because of the harsh winter weather across the country.
There are a substantial amount of people who are reaching retirement age, especially baby boomers, so they will be leaving the labor market soon, said Wirths.
“We are not going to be happy until every person looking for a job has a job. We recovered almost 50 percent so we have another 50 percent to go and we will just keep going along. We are almost on the same level as the national rate right now,” said Wirths.