It’s the first month with higher unemployment since December.
New Jersey’s unemployment rate is up for the first time since December.
The state Labor Department says the jobless rate rose slightly in July to 9.7 percent. More than 21,000 jobs were lost, most of them in the public sector, as local governments reduced their workforce to cut costs. Private sector employment also fell with significant losses in the construction and leisure and hospitality industries.
Rutgers University economist Joseph Seneca says it’s a disappointing report.
“Essentially private sector employment in New Jersey has been basically flat since the beginning of the year. We’ve lost a total of 18-hundred private sector jobs since December and that’s an economy that is really not going anywhere. It’s in a stall mode.”
Seneca expects it will take another seven to ten years for New Jersey to recover all of the jobs that were lost during the recession.