N.J. job growth retreats

    After six months of job growth, employment in New Jersey has moved lower, led by a decline in the private sector.

    Overall employment in the Garden State was down by 8,600 jobs in March. A drop of more than 11,000 private-sector jobs was somewhat offset by gains in public employment with increased hiring at community colleges.

    Labor Commissioner Hal Wirths said Thursday the job losses came after mild weather helped boost employment earlier in the year. He expects hiring will pick up again.

    “We see a lot of construction projects getting under way, and I think definitely things will continue to improve,” Wirths said. “We hope that this was an anomaly and the positive trend we’ve seen over the past six months will continue next month.”

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    A separate survey shows New Jersey’s unemployment rate was unchanged last month at 9 percent.

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