Department of Labor & Workforce Development

NJ Employers Add to Payrolls for 5th Straight Month in May


June 17, 2021

TRENTON – Preliminary estimates produced by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that total nonfarm wage and salary employment in New Jersey increased in May by 13,600 jobs to reach a seasonally adjusted level of 3,915,400. May marks the fifth consecutive month of job growth in the Garden State.

The gains were concentrated in the private sector (+12,600) of the state’s economy. New Jersey has now recovered 403,000 jobs, or about 56 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 fell by 0.3 percentage point in May to 7.2 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 April were revised higher to show an over-the-month (March – April) increase of 4,900 jobs. Preliminary estimates had indicated an over-the-month gain of 3,900 jobs. The revised April unemployment rate was unchanged at 7.5 percent.

In May, employment increases were recorded in seven out of nine major private sectors. Sectors that recorded employment increases include leisure and hospitality (+6,200); trade, transportation, and utilities (+3,000); education and health services (+2,500); professional and business services (+1,500); other services (+1,000); manufacturing (+800); and information (+200). Employment decreases were recorded in the construction (-2,200) and financial activities (-400) sectors. Over the month, public sector employment increased by 1,000 jobs.  

It should be noted that the lifting of pandemic-related restrictions on New Jersey businesses occurred late in May, after completion of the survey week, and as such the impact of reopening on employment levels are anticipated to be more evident in next month’s reporting.

Preliminary BLS data for June 2021 will be released on July 15, 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-may-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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