New Jersey sees modest employment gains in April, unemployment rate exceeds national rate | New Jersey
(The Center Square) – New Jersey added 3,900 jobs in April and the state’s unemployment rate fell 0.1 percentage point to 7.5%, New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development announcement.
The majority of job gains, 3,000, were in the leisure and hospitality sector.
“Our experience mirrored that of the nation, which also saw a slight increase more than what is accounted for by recreation and hospitality,” said Charles Steindel, former chief economist of New Jersey and resident researcher at Ramapo College’s Anisfield School of Business, in an analysis for the Garden State Initiative.
“A gain in jobs can be considered better than a decline, but at the April pace, it would take another 7 years to bring the number of jobs in New Jersey back to its February 2020 peak,” added Steindel . “While the only slightly positive point was leisure and hospitality, which has created more than 18,000 jobs since December, the sector is still more than 90,000 below its peak.”
The move comes amid a nationwide debate over whether the $ 300 extra in unemployment benefits encourages people to stay home instead of going back to work. Governor Phil Murphy said the state had “no intention of cutting the $ 300” in New Jersey.
“Without a doubt this has been a component at work, but it is also the case that leisure and hospitality, the only sector that has shown recent strength, mainly offers fairly low paying positions,” said Steindel. . “Hopefully April’s weakness will prove to be transient – given the surge in income and spending, and many surveys showing a pickup in business activity, it seems plausible.”
Nationally, the unemployment rate was 6.1%. Officials said the Garden State recovered 388,400 jobs – or about 54% of the number – lost in March and April 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.