Department of Labor & Workforce Development

Challenges Remain as New Jersey Employment Continues Rebound in June


July 16, 2020

TRENTON – New Jersey employers recalled workers in June as the partial reopening of the state’s economy from COVID-19 related closures continued. Total nonfarm wage and salary employment in New Jersey increased by 130,900 in June to a seasonally adjusted level of 3,630,400 according to estimates released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Coupled with previously recorded gains in May, New Jersey has now recovered a total of 219,800 jobs, or about 26 percent of the job loss in March and April due to the coronavirus pandemic and measures taken in response to it.
Despite the payroll gain, the state’s unemployment rate rose by 1.2 percentage points to 16.6 percent. New Jersey’s unemployment remains higher than the United States as a whole (11.1 percent), reflective of how hard the Garden State has been hit by the pandemic compared to other parts of the nation.
The BLS continues to acknowledge the difficulty in classification of responses from the household survey, which may have resulted in understating the level of the unemployed and overstating the employed in prior months. The reduction in the misclassification between employed and unemployed people from May to June likely contributed to both the unemployment rate increase and the divergence between household and payroll employment in this month’s report for New Jersey (resident employment fell while establishment payrolls increased). Revisions to monthly estimates and again at the end of the year during annual processing may be expected. For further information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics regarding the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on industry employment and unemployment estimates for June please visit: https://www.bls.gov/cps/employment-situation-covid19-faq-june-2020.pdf
Based on more complete reporting from employers, previously released total nonfarm employment estimates for May were revised higher by 2,100 to show an over-the-month (April – May) increase of 88,900 jobs. Preliminary estimates had indicated an over-the-month gain of 86,800. The state’s revised May unemployment rate was revised up by 0.2 percentage points to 15.4 percent.
In June, job gains were recorded in eight out of nine major private industry sectors. In order, the largest gains were recorded in trade, transportation, and utilities (+41,800), leisure and hospitality (+35,300), education and health services (+33,000), other services (+7,400), construction (+7,100), professional and business services (+6,700), manufacturing (+3,300), and information (+200). The only sector to record a loss over the month was financial activities (-700). Over the month, public sector employment was lower by 3,300, with the losses concentrated at the local level (-4,800).
Preliminary BLS data for July will be released on August 20, 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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