Mar-17-14 New Jersey Unemployment Rate Falls to 7.1 Percent Private Sector Employers added Jobs for a Fourth Consecutive Year in 2013
The BLS’s benchmark process, a required annual review and adjustment of previously released state-by-state employment data, revealed New Jersey’s private sector employment growth in 2013 was more than double what preliminary estimates initially indicated in the data BLS issued in January. Private sector employment grew by 19,800 from December 2012 to December 2013.
The benchmark revisions also show the unemployment rate for New Jersey had been consistently overstated in all preliminary monthly employment reports issued by the BLS since June 2012. The revised BLS data show the Garden State’s unemployment rate had been much lower and steadily dropped over 18 months, plummeting by 2.4 percentage points to reach a revised December 2013 rate of 7.2 percent before dropping again by January 2014 to hit a preliminary rate of 7.1 percent. (See Press Release Tables link below)
“The revisions reveal that unemployment has been on a steady downtrend for quite a while. The new numbers show much less of a job loss in December, but the figures for both December and January suggest that the rough winter has likely been holding down hiring. As is typically the case after such an episode, there’s a good chance the pace will pick up as the temperatures rise,” said Charles Steindel, Chief Economist for the New Jersey Department of Treasury.
BENCHMARK REVISIONS FOR 2013
Previously released nonfarm employment estimates, including those for 2013, have been revised to new employment benchmarks by the BLS. The benchmark process re-anchors monthly, sample-based survey estimates to full-universe counts of employment, primarily derived from records of the unemployment insurance tax system.
The results of the latest annual benchmarking adjustment process — conducted by BLS each year at this time for every state — showed that New Jersey added a total 18,800 non-farm jobs in 2013 with the addition of 19,800 private sector positions and a decline of 1,000 public sector jobs. The BLS benchmark, however, also revised the employment estimates and the labor force estimates downward for 2012 and 2013.
The average unemployment rates for 2012 and 2013 also were revised downward. The BLS data show the rate for 2013 at 8.2 percent, down from 8.4 percent. The average unemployment rate for New Jersey in 2012 was 9.3 percent, down from a previously reported 9.5 percent, according to the BLS benchmark data.
The BLS benchmarking revised the employment growth from December 2011 through December 2012 to 43,900 total nonfarm jobs. Previous estimates released after the March 2013 benchmarking had placed the gain at 66,400 total nonfarm jobs. Still, December to December data for the past four years show private sector growth with 8,200 jobs in 2010, 28,800 jobs in 2011, 45,400 jobs in 2012 and 19,800 jobs in 2013.
New Jersey has gained 120,200 private sector jobs since February 2010, the low-point of private sector job loss during the recession, according to the preliminary data the BLS released for January 2014.
Over the December 2012 to December 2013 period, four private industry sectors of the New Jersey economy added jobs, four registered job contractions and one was unchanged. Job gains were recorded in trade, transportation, and utilities (+11,500), education and health services (+10,300), leisure and hospitality (+3,700), and professional and business services (+2,300). Industry sectors that contracted over the year included construction (-4,300), information (-2,300), financial activities (-1,400), and other services (-100). Manufacturing employment was unchanged. Public sector employment was down by 1,000 over the period.
JANUARY 2014 ESTIMATES
Preliminary nonfarm wage and salary estimates for January show total nonfarm employment decreased by 3,900 jobs, with public sector employment lower by 2,300 and the private sector down 1,600, to reach a seasonally adjusted level of 3,924,900. Employment gains were recorded in January in construction (+5,700), professional and business services (+5,300), financial activities (+2,600), other services (+1,000) and manufacturing (+600).
Decreases were reported in education and health services (-9,700), trade, transportation, and utilities (-3,700), leisure and hospitality (-3,300) and information (-200). Public sector employment in January contracted at both the state (-1,700) and federal (-800) government levels, outpacing a small increase in local (+200) government.
Preliminary BLS data for February 2014 will be released on March 27, 2014.
PRESS RELEASE TABLES