July Jobs Numbers: Real Recovery Remains Elusive Despite Recent Gains
New Jersey’s recovery from the recession continues to plod along yet remains far behind the nation’s, as evidenced by the employment data for July released in recent weeks.
The state lost 11,800 jobs in July, yet the unemployment rate dipped slightly to 8.6 percent. That rate remains far higher than the national rate, which in July fell to 7.4 percent, and it is the eighth highest rate in the country.
Looking at more than just the last month, the state is adding jobs – and it has done so at a pace slightly faster than the nation in the past year (the year-over-year growth rate is the 12th highest of the states). Yet there is a huge amount of ground to make up after several years of very sluggish post-recession growth, and the rate of growth New Jersey is currently experiencing is not enough to do that – let alone bring the state back to a pre-recession level of economic strength. New Jersey still has the second highest jobless rate change (after Nevada) and the 16th highest rate of job loss since December 2007.
New Jersey has recovered few of the jobs lost in the recession (51 percent), compared to neighboring states like New York (134 percent) and Pennsylvania (75 percent) that are doing much better. (The nation has recovered 77 percent of the jobs it lost.)
Meanwhile, the state is running a “jobs deficit” of 317,800 – that’s how many jobs New Jersey needs to create to get back to pre-recession levels and keep up with population growth. That equals 8 percent of the state’s current number of jobs. The deficit in New York is 156,400 (1.8 percent of that state’s current jobs level); in Pennsylvania it’s 268,400 (4.7 percent); in the entire U.S. it’s 9,463,900 (7 percent).