Department of Labor & Workforce Development

New Jersey Employment Higher in February


March 26, 2020

TRENTON– New Jersey employers added to payrolls in February for the ninth consecutive month while the state’s unemployment rate remained at 3.8 percent, according to estimates released Thursday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.  

Total nonfarm wage and salary employment increased by 3,100 in February to reach a seasonally adjusted level of 4,243,900. The gain was concentrated in the private sector (+5,000) of the state’s economy. Note: These estimates are based on survey reports from employers that reflect employees on payrolls the week that includes the 12th of the month (February), prior to the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in New Jersey 

Over the year, February 2019 – February 2020, employment in New Jersey was higher by 58,700, with the majority of the gains recorded by private sector employers (+54,600). Since February 2010 (the low point of the last recession), New Jersey’s private sector employers have added 442,900 jobs.

Based on more complete reporting from employers, the previously released total nonfarm employment estimates for January were revised higher by 300 to show an over-the-month (December – January) increase of 14,400 jobs. Preliminary estimates had indicated an over-the-month gain of 14,100 jobs. The state’s revised January unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.8 percent.

In February, employment increases were recorded in six out of nine major private industry sectors. Industry sectors that added jobs were construction (+3,100), leisure and hospitality (+2,900), education and health services (+1,400), financial activities (+1,300), information (+300), and manufacturing (+200). Industry sectors that recorded a decrease were trade, transportation, and utilities (-2,200), professional and business services (-1,300), and other services (-700). Over the month, public sector employment was lower by 1,900 jobs.

Preliminary BLS data for March 2020 will be released on April 16, 2020.


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 business establishments 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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