Mar-08-12 Employment Expands in January for Fifth Consecutive Month; Unemployment Rate at 9.0 Percent
Since February 2010, which was the low point of private sector employment since the recession began, there has been a gain of 67,800 private sector jobs in New Jersey.
The benchmarking also affirmed the private sector job gain in 2011 was the largest over-the-year gain since the December 1999 – December 2000 period, and 2011 represented the second consecutive year of private sector job growth and reductions in public sector payrolls.
“January’s strong gain in payrolls shows that the state’s economy is moving forward: employers are hiring. Moreover, the figure showing that 60% of New Jersey residents are at work is a point and a half higher than the national average,” said Charles Steindel, Chief Economist for the New Jersey Department of Treasury.
JANUARY 2012 ESTIMATES
For the most recent month, January 2012, nonfarm wage and salary preliminary estimates show that employment increased sharply by 13,300 jobs to reach a seasonally adjusted level of 3,887,900. The state’s preliminary unemployment rate moved lower by 0.1 percentage point in January to 9.0 percent from a revised 9.1 percent in December 2011. Employment and unemployment estimates for February will be released on March 22, 2012.
In January, employment gains were recorded in both the private (+10,700 jobs) and public sectors (+2,600) of the New Jersey economy. The largest January employment gain occurred in the education and health services (+9,500) industry sector as gains were recorded in both the educational services (+5,600) and health care and social assistance (+3,900) components. Other industry sectors with notable job gains included manufacturing (+4,000), other services (+2,000), trade, transportation and utilities (+1,500) and construction (+1,100). Industry sectors that registered job loss included professional and business services (-6,500), information (-1,200) and financial activities (-400). The loss in professional and business services was mainly due to job contraction in the administrative support, waste management/remediation segment (-6,700).
Public sector employment in January was higher by 2,600 due to gains at the state (+1,900) and local (+700) government levels.
Over the month, the unadjusted workweek for production workers decreased 0.2 hours to 41.2 hours, average hourly earnings were lower by $0.17 to $19.52 and weekly earnings declined by $10.95 to $804.22. Compared to January of last year, the unadjusted workweek increased by 1.5 hours, average hourly earnings increased by $0.40 and weekly earnings were higher by $45.16.
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BENCHMARK REVISIONS FOR 2011
Results of the annual benchmarking adjustment process — conducted by every state each year at this time — showed that New Jersey employers added a seasonally adjusted total of 31,100 jobs over the year, December 2010 to December 2011. This represents a downward revision from the originally estimated gain of 36,400 jobs.
Still, the New Jersey employment picture improved significantly in 2011 in comparison with 2010 when job loss totaled 18,700 (+10,200 private sector, -28,900 public sector). The benchmarking revisions do not change the overall trends shown by the original estimates or the fact that 2011 represents the largest over-the-year private sector job gain since 2000. In addition, 2011 remains the second consecutive year that New Jersey saw private sector job gains and reductions in public sector payrolls.
The majority of the adjustment resulted from an over-estimation of private sector job gains and an over-estimation of public sector job losses in 2011. Preliminary estimates had indicated a gain of 39,400 private sector jobs while revised data show the gain to be 33,400. Revised data for the public sector show an over-the-year loss of 2,700 jobs rather than the preliminary estimated drop of 3,000 in 2011.
Previously released nonfarm employment estimates, including those for 2011, have been revised to new employment benchmarks as required annually by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The process re-anchors monthly, sample-based survey estimates to full-universe counts of employment, primarily derived from records of the unemployment insurance tax system. Overall, this year’s benchmark revision (based on unadjusted March 2011 tax data, the month which is used to re-anchor the estimates) was -0.2 percent. In comparison, national employment estimates for 2011 had a revision of +0.1 percent.
Six of ten private industry sectors of the New Jersey economy gained jobs over the December 2010 to December 2011 period. The largest gains were recorded in the education and health services (+17,600 jobs), professional and business services (+11,100), trade, transportation and utilities (+10,700), and other services (+5,200) supersectors. Industry sectors that contracted over the year included information (-8,400), manufacturing (-4,700), and leisure and hospitality (-800). In the public sector, job loss at the state government (-4,400) and federal government (-1,800) levels were somewhat offset by employment gains in local government (+3,900).
Labor force estimates for New Jersey were also revised for 2011. For the year, revised unemployment averaged 9.3 percent (U.S. rate = 8.9%) and trended steadily lower over the second half of the year, from a high of 9.4 percent in June to 9.1 percent in December. In 2010, the unemployment rate averaged 9.6 percent.