With New Jersey employers cutting 4,700 jobs in July, the Garden State’s brief one-month flirtation with a full jobs recovery from the recession has ended – at least momentarily. More than 7 years after the recession’s official end, New Jersey still has 1,900 fewer jobs 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 nine states that hasn’t yet recovered all the jobs lost since that time. The U.S. has now recovered 170 percent.
- The Garden State now has the 9th slowest job growth (-0.05 percent) of all the states since December 2007. The nation as a whole has grown jobs by 4.4 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 263,200 more jobs in July 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 265,100, and needs to add 116,505 jobs each year for the next three years just to get back to pre-recession employment levels and keep up with continued population growth by July 2019. For contrast, the state has barely gained that many jobs in the past three years total, having added only 147,500 since July 2013 (an average of 49,167 jobs gained per year).
- 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 14.8 percent, and leisure and hospitality jobs (including retail and food service), which have grown by 7.7 percent. Highly paid sectors like financial services (-5.7 percent) have been declining, as have sectors that formerly made up the strong working and middle class: construction (down 10.9 percent); manufacturing (down 19.8 percent) and public-sector state and local government jobs (down 4.5 percent).