Department of Labor & Workforce Development

New Jersey Adds 6,500 Jobs in December


January 23, 2020

TRENTON – Preliminary monthly estimates released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that New Jersey’s total nonfarm employment increased by 6,500 jobs in December, to reach a seasonally adjusted total of 4,218,100. The state’s unemployment rate edged up a tenth of a percentage point to 3.5 percent as more New Jersey residents entered the labor market in search of employment.

A preliminary over-the-year analysis shows that from December 2018 through December 2019, New Jersey employers added 39,000 workers to their payrolls. All of the gains were recorded by private sector employers (+41,400) as public sector employment declined by 2,400. Last year (2019) represents the 10th consecutive year that New Jersey has recorded private sector job growth -- since February 2010 (the recessionary low point for private sector employment), New Jersey’s private sector employers have added 426,300 jobs.

Based on more complete reporting from employers, the previously released total nonfarm employment estimate for November was revised lower by 1,300 to show an over-the-month (October – November) increase of 5,900 jobs. Preliminary estimates had indicated an over-the-month increase of 7,200 jobs. The state’s revised November unemployment rate remains unchanged at 3.4 percent.

Four major private industry sectors recorded employment increases in December. Industry sectors that added jobs over the month include leisure and hospitality (+3,400), professional and business services (+2,700), trade, transportation, and utilities (+1,200), and education and health services (+200). Industries that recorded a decrease over the month include construction (-600), manufacturing (-500), financial activities (-400), other services (-200), and information (-100). Over the month, public sector employment was higher by 800 jobs.

Preliminary data for January 2020 and benchmarked data, which will present a more complete picture of the New Jersey economy for the entire calendar year of 2019, will be released on March 16.


Technical Notes: Estimates of industry employment and unemployment levels are arrived at through the use of two different monthly surveys.

Industry employment data are derived through the Current Employment Statistics (CES) survey, a monthly survey of approximately 4,000 New Jersey businesses conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of the U.S. Department of Labor, which provides estimates of employment, hours, and earnings data broken down by industry for the nation as a whole, all states and most major metropolitan areas (often referred to as the “establishment” survey).

Resident employment and unemployment data are mainly derived from the New Jersey portion of the national Current Population Survey (CPS), a household survey conducted each month by the U.S. Census Bureau under contract with BLS, which provides input to the Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) program (often referred to as the “household” survey).

Both industry and household estimates are revised each month based on additional information from updated survey reports compiled by the BLS. In addition, these estimates are benchmarked (revised) annually based on actual counts from New Jersey’s Unemployment Compensation Law administrative records and more complete data from all New Jersey employers.

Effective with the release of January 2018 estimates, the Current Employment Statistics (CES) program has converted to concurrent seasonal adjustment, which uses all available estimates, including those for the current month, in developing seasonal factors. Previously, the CES program developed seasonal factors once a year during the annual benchmark process.  For more information on concurrent seasonal adjustment in the CES State and Area program, see www.bls.gov/sae/saeconcurrent.htm.

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