One of the few references to jobs in Gov. Christie’s State of the State address earlier this week was a claim that his administration’s policies had succeeded in creating 60,000 new private sector jobs in New Jersey.
However, monthly unemployment numbers released today by the state cast a dark shadow on the governor’s claim.
The report shows that even as New Jersey gained a small number of jobs in 2011, the state still lags the rest of the nation in the recovery, with an unemployment rate of 9.0 percent, compared to a falling national rate of 8.5 percent.
Statistics gathered by the US Department of Labor show that non-farm wage and salary employment in the private sector in New Jersey increased by 39,400 jobs from December of 2010 to December of 2011. That was offset by the loss of 3,000 public sector jobs over the same 12 months. It is unclear how these official numbers comport with the governor’s claim of 60,000 private sector jobs created.
Even so, as state economist Charles Steindel pointed out in the press release, “We still have a long way to go to get back close to full employment.”
In fact, New Jersey remains down nearly 200,000 jobs from its pre-recession peak, according to employment data.
What’s more, the data also show that jobs in New Jersey haven’t returned to the same level as when Gov. Christie took office. The average yearly non-farm employment in 2009, according to the report, measured 3,894,900 jobs – or about 13,000 more jobs than the total in today’s employment report.
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