Jobless rate inches down in New Jersey

Amid concerns that New Jersey’s unemployment rate might hit double digits, it’s actually moved a bit lower.

The jobless rate in the Garden State edged down 0.10 percent in September and now stands at 9.8 percent, according to Charles Steindel, chief economist for the state Treasury Department.

“We hope it’s the start of something that’ll get better as the months go on,” he said Thursday.

Even though the unemployment rate is going down, it’s still too high, says Assemblyman Vinnie Prieto, chairman of the Assembly budget committee.

“It’s troublesome that it’s still two points above the national average,” said Prieto, D-Hudson. “It shows that there’s still a lot of work we need to do.”

Democrats in the Legislature intend to reconsider a package of job creation bills after Gov. Chris Christie vetoed previous efforts, he said.

The addition of 1,100 jobs in the private sector last month was offset by the loss of 2,300 public sector jobs.

“No one is happy with this number as I’ve said month after month, but we are happy to see it tick down,” state Labor Commissioner Hal Wirths said. “We did create jobs in the private sector, over 1,100 jobs, which makes it 10 out of 13 months.”

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