N.J. unemployment rate continues slowly falling as state recovers 36,000 jobs

Slowly but steadily, New Jersey continues recovering from the economic damage of the coronavirus pandemic, as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced Thursday that May marked the fifth consecutive month of job growth.

Another 13,600 jobs were added in May, largely concentrated in the private sector, the federal data shows. Since March 2020, New Jersey has regained 403,000 jobs, or roughly 56%.

The state’s unemployment rate also fell by 0.3 percentage points in May, bringing the unemployment rate to 7.2. April’s rate remained unchanged at 7.5%, the bureau said.

And the agency noted that Gov. Phil Murphy lifted restrictions in New Jersey in late May, after the reporting was completed. The reopenings should have a major impact on employment levels that will be reflected in June’s job reports, released in mid-July.

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Since the pandemic ravaged the economy, more than 2.1 million people have applied for unemployment. At the height of the first wave of the pandemic, more than 200,000 people were filing new claims.

Industries that were nearly decimated by the coronavirus pandemic’s shutdowns are making the largest recoveries. Roughly 6,200 jobs were added to the leisure and hospitality industry, and another 3,000 jobs were created in the trade, transportation and utilities sector.

About 2,500 jobs were recorded in the education and health services factor, in part due to in-person learning becoming more prevalent, and the professional and business services jobs increased by 1,500. Manufacturing also added 800 jobs, and information saw an increase of 200 positions.

Meanwhile, the construction industry saw a loss of 2,200 jobs, and the financial activities sector also lost 400 jobs.

Public sector employment increased by 1,000 jobs, the agency reported.

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Sophie Nieto-Munoz may be reached at [email protected]. Follow her at @snietomunoz.

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