Department of Labor & Workforce Development

Unemployment Rate Edges Lower to 7.5 Percent


May 20, 2021

TRENTONPreliminary estimates produced by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that total nonfarm wage and salary employment in New Jersey increased in April by 3,900 jobs to reach a seasonally adjusted level of 3,900,800. The gains were concentrated in the private sector (+3,500) of the state’s economy. Although modest, the April increase marks the fourth consecutive month of gains in the state’s total nonfarm job level.  

New Jersey has now recovered 388,400 jobs, or about 54 percent of the number lost in March and April 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic and measures taken in response to it. The state’s unemployment rate dipped lower by 0.1 percentage point in April to 7.5 percent. 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 March were revised slightly lower by 400 to show an over-the-month (February – March) increase of 20,400 jobs. Preliminary estimates had indicated an over-the-month gain of 20,800 jobs. The state’s March unemployment rate was revised lower by 0.1 percentage point to 7.6 percent.  

In April, employment increases were recorded in six out of nine major private sectors. Sectors that recorded employment increases include leisure and hospitality (+3,000), education and health services (+900), information (+700), construction (+400), professional and business services (+100), and other services (+100). Employment decreases were reported in trade, transportation, and utilities (-800), manufacturing (-500), and financial activities (-400). Over the month, public sector employment increased by 400 jobs. 

Preliminary BLS data for May 2021 will be released on June 17, 2021.


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-april-2021.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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