Department of Labor & Workforce Development

Private Sector Employers Continue to Hire in October


October 19, 2020

TRENTON – New Jersey private sector employers added to their payrolls in October for the sixth consecutive month while employment in the public sector moved lower. Estimates produced by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that total nonfarm wage and salary employment in New Jersey decreased by 5,200 in October to reach a seasonally adjusted level of 3,886,900. Contraction in the public sector (-18,000) of the state’s economy outpaced gains in the private sector (+12,800). New Jersey has now regained a total of 476,300 jobs in the six months since April, or about 57 percent of the jobs lost due to the coronavirus pandemic and measures taken in response to it. The state’s unemployment rate increased by 1.5 percentage points to 8.2 percent due to New Jersey residents re-entering the labor force in October. See the technical notes at the end of this release for further information about the impact of the coronavirus on this month’s employment estimates.

Based on more complete reporting from employers, previously released total nonfarm employment estimates for September were revised higher by 13,900 to show an over-the-month (August – September) increase of 74,100 jobs.  Preliminary estimates had indicated an over-the-month gain of 60,200 jobs. The state’s revised September unemployment rate was unchanged, remaining at 6.7 percent.

In October, employment increases were recorded in seven out of nine major private sectors. Sectors that recorded job gains include leisure and hospitality (+5,700), education and health services (+2,500), other services (+1,900), professional and business services (+1,600), manufacturing (+1,300), financial activities (+1,200), and construction (+1,100). Sectors that recorded employment losses include trade, transportation, and utilities (-2,400) and information (-100). The public sector recorded a decrease of 18,000 over the month, with the majority of the decrease coming at the local (-11,700) and federal (-4,500) government levels.

Preliminary BLS data for November will be released on December 17, 2020.


Technical Notes: For further information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics regarding the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on industry employment and unemployment estimates please visit:  https://www.bls.gov/covid19/employment-situation-covid19-faq-october-2020.htm

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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