(The Center Square) – New Jersey continued to see job gains in February, but the state’s unemployment rate lags the national average, according to an analysis of new numbers.
New Jersey employers added 25,900 jobs, and nonfarm wage and salary employment reached a seasonally adjusted level of more than 4.1 million, the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development announced.
February’s gains were entirely in the private sector, officials said. Job growth continued for the 15th consecutive month in February, and the Garden State has recovered 90%, or 658,300, of the jobs lost in March and April 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“New Jersey’s February labor market numbers were good,” Charles Steindel, New Jersey’s former chief economist, said in a Garden State Initiative analysis. “The most striking was a drop in the unemployment rate from 5.1% in January to 4.6% in February – the lowest rate since March 2020’s 3.3%.”
However, New Jersey’s unemployment rate remains higher than the national rate of 3.8%. Most of the decline from January to February was due to the state’s labor force falling 17,700 during a month when the national count rose 304,000, Steindel said in his analysis.
“The job count figures were strong, with the state’s payrolls rising 25,900 in February – the largest gain since July,” Steindel said. “With a moderate upward revision to the January figure, February marked the sixth consecutive month that New Jersey added at least 10,000 jobs. There is still a remaining job gap of close to 75,000 to the February 2020 peak level.”