August Jobs Numbers: New Jersey Continues to Lag

New Jersey still has 2,800 fewer jobs than it did before the recession began.

Published on Sep 23, 2016

job-growth-map-01New Jersey employers added a very modest 2,200 jobs in August as a full recovery from the recession remains elusive. More than 7 years after the recession’s official end, New Jersey still has 2,800 fewer jobs than it did before the recession began. Regardless of the monthly ups and downs, New Jersey’s economy remains fragile and its recovery continues to lag behind that of our neighbors and the nation as a whole.

  • New Jersey has now recovered 99 percent of the jobs it lost since December 2007, when the recession began. It’s one of only eight states that hasn’t yet recovered all the jobs lost since that time. The U.S. has now recovered 172 percent.
  • The Garden State now has the 8th slowest job growth (-0.1 percent) of all the states since December 2007. The nation as a whole has grown jobs by 4.5 percent during that same time, while the Northeast region has posted growth of 3.8 percent.
  • But the news gets even worse. Not only has New Jersey not gotten back to December 2007 employment levels, it has also failed to keep up with the population growth that’s happened since. In fact, New Jersey should have 265,900 more jobs in August 2016 than in December 2007 just to keep employment levels stable as the population grew during that time.
  • This means the state still has a current jobs deficit of 268,700, and needs to add about 118,000 jobs each year for the next 3 years just to get back to pre-recession employment levels and keep up with continued population growth by August 2019. For contrast, the state has gained less than half that over the past year, with nonfarm employment growing by just 52,200 from August 2015 to August 2016.
  • Many of the jobs that have been growing in New Jersey have been lower-paid jobs. The two employment sectors that have seen the largest increase since December 2007 are the ones where New Jerseyans earn the least: education and health jobs (including home health aides), which have grown by 14.2 percent, and leisure and hospitality jobs (including retail and food service), which have grown by 7.8 percent. The only other New Jersey sectors that have grown since December 2007 are professional and business services (4.3 percent) and trade, transportation and utilities (0.4 percent). Highly paid sectors like financial services (-6.2 percent) have been declining, as have sectors that formerly made up the strong working and middle class: construction (down 10.3 percent); manufacturing (down 20.1 percent) and public-sector state and local government jobs (down 4.4 percent).