NJ Employment Watch
NJ's Private-Sector Employers Added 39,400 Jobs in 2011, Most Since 2001
Update: NJ enjoys sixth consecutive month of job growth in February
With the addition of 39,400 private-sector jobs in 2011, New Jersey had its best year for job growth in more than a decade, a welcome respite following a net loss of 226,000 jobs in the 2008-2009 employment downturn.
As of December 2011, however, New Jersey’s unemployment rate remained at 9 percent, its lowest point for the year but a half point above the national rate of 8.5 percent, according to full-year data released by the NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
And private-sector employment growth, while ending the year with good numbers, was inconsistent from month-to-month, with losses in four months partially offsetting gains in the other eight months. (See chart)
“2011 was a turnaround year for overall employment growth in New Jersey, and there is good reason to believe we will see continued progress in 2012,” said NJBIA President Philip Kirschner.
The private-sector services industry was the greatest beneficiary, adding a net 44,600 jobs in 2011. Leading the way in services was the trade, transportation and utilities subsector (which includes retail and wholesale trades), which added 18,500 jobs. Professional and business services came next with addition of 14,500 jobs, followed by education and health services, with 13,100 new jobs. (See table)
The only services subsector to lose ground in 2011 was information technology and related services, which was down 5,100 jobs, a decline of 6.5 percent.
Of the state other major private-sector industries, construction lost 1,200 jobs, a decline of close to 1 percent, and manufacturing lost 9,100 jobs, a decline of 3.6 percent.
The rate of private-sector job growth in 2011 compares favorably to the unusually low growth seen in the state’s 2003-2007 expansion. In this period, the state added an average of only 16,000 private-sector jobs annually. The average number of private-sector jobs created annually in the 1990s expansion, by comparison, was a more robust 66,000. (See chart)
As of December 2011, total statewide employment in New Jersey, including government jobs, stood at just over 3.2 million. The government sector (federal, state, county and local) shed 3,000 jobs in 2011, compared with 22,200 the year before.