Verizon strike dents N.J. employment numbers

    Private-sector employment in New Jersey is down for the first time in seven months as total employment in the Garden State fell by 7,100 jobs in August.

    Charles Steindel, chief economist with the state Treasury Department, said more than 11,000 workers were dropped from payrolls in the private sector.

    “A good deal of that was apparently due to the Verizon strike. There was a pretty substantial drop in the information sector and telecommunications,” Steindel said. “So we take out that effect, and there was basically very little change in employment.”

    The public sector added 4,200 jobs because of a seasonal increase in higher education, said deputy Labor Commissioner Richard Constable. Most of that occurred at Rutgers University.

    “Every year in the fall semester, they hire adjunct professors, tenured professors, bus operators, and just overall staff,” Constable said. “Normally that occurs in September. This year it happened in August.”

    A separate survey shows New Jersey’s unemployment rate fell slightly last month to 9.4 percent.

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