N.J. unemployment rate drops sharply

    New Jersey’s unemployment rate in November fell to 7.8 percent, but the reason for the .6 percentage point decline does not have all economists celebrating.

    The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics released preliminary data Thursday from its two major state-level employment surveys.

    Its survey of employers shows the state added nearly 17,000 jobs in November, with most industries hiring.

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    That is a promising sign but it is not the reason for the dip in the unemployment rate.

    That rate is based mostly on a household survey. The household survey showed the state gaining just 1,000 jobs but nearly 31,000 people leaving the labor force.

    Private economist Patrick O’Keefe says the state now has its lowest employment rate since 1983.

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