N.J. jobless rate edges down to 9.6%

TRENTON  – The state’s unemployment rate edged lower in December, down by 0.1 percentage point, to 9.6 percent from a revised estimate for November of 9.7 percent, the state Labor Department said today. (November’s preliminary unemployment rate was initially reported to be 9.6 percent,but was revised upward.)

Private sector employers in the state added 30,900 workers in December, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), marking the state’s largest single monthly employment gain since the current practice of calculating total nonfarm employment began in 1990, the Labor Department said. 

The state said that private sector employers have added 103,200 jobs since February 2010, the low point of private sector employment during the recession, according to the preliminary federal data, which also shows that 2012 was the state’s third consecutive year of private sector employment growth.

The state also reported that based on more complete reporting from employers, previously released November estimates were revised lower, down by 2,400 jobs, to show an over-the-month (October – November) total nonfarm employment loss of 10,500 jobs during the period super-storm Sandy devastated New Jersey. Preliminary estimates had initially indicated an over-the-month loss of 8,100 jobs.

"I’m an undertaker by trade, so when I bury somebody, they don’t come back."
—Bergen County Democratic Chairman Lou Stellato