The recently released unemployment numbers show a decrease in jobs throughout the state of New Jersey for the last three months. New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Department Commissioner Harold Wirths told NJTV News Managing Editor Mike Schneider that unemployment levels are at their lowest since 2009 — at 8.4 percent.
“February 2010 we lost 250,000 private sector jobs. As of yesterday’s report, we’ve regained about 143,000 jobs, so you have the jobs increasing,” said Wirths. “Obviously we still have a long ways to go.”
Unemployment data for August saw numbers get revised and the numbers for September and October saw unemployment increase, then decrease. For Wirths, the preliminary numbers for August don’t mean much to him since the numbers were off, going from 1,500 to 1,400.
Wirths also said that unemployment numbers are seasonally adjusted and that he doesn’t put much faith into the October unemployment numbers because they show a loss of 4,100 government jobs. He plans to wait to see what the real numbers are for October since preliminary numbers are often adjusted.
For Wirths, 2012 remains as the best year in job growth with 66,000 jobs created.
“Pretty much all across the board, seven out of nine sectors, we had job growth in the last year,” said Wirths. “The ones that are finally starting to come back a little bit, as manufacturing was up 5,000 for the year. Actually in October, we had great job growth in professional business service — over 4,000 — and trades and transportation over 4,000.”
With the growth of manufacturing jobs, Wirths says that people are probably being added to existing factories and that some new construction is going on. Wirths also said that he is happy to see construction and manufacturing showing signs of life because they were the two most depressed areas in the four years he has been commissioner.
Meanwhile in the state there is an ongoing battle to get the Unemployment Insurance (UI) fund balanced. Wirths says it’s one of the things he’s proudest about since he became commissioner and started working with the Christie administration.
“We were $2.1 billion in the red because both parties had diverted over $4 billion of funds from the UI trust fund and that was one of my number one goals and the governor’s goal to get that trust fund back in black and through very, very aggressive fraud efforts — over $300 in fraud efforts and over $200 in misconduct efforts,” said Wirths.
Wirths also said that businesses throughout the state will get a $211 million tax cut this upcoming January and hopes that businesses will use that money to hire new people.