New Jersey’s Lackluster Jobs Recovery Continues in September

The Garden State has the 8th slowest jobs growth since December 2007.

Published on Oct 24, 2016 in Economic Justice


With New Jersey employers adding a barely noticeable 2,700 jobs in September, the Garden State’s lackluster economic recovery continues. While the state has now – finally – recovered all the jobs it lost in the Great Recession, more than 7 years after the recession’s official end, New Jersey’s economy remains fragile.

  • New Jersey has now recovered 101 percent of the jobs it lost since December 2007, when the recession began. The U.S. has now recovered 174 percent.
  • The Garden State now has the 8th slowest job growth (essentially flat) of all the states since December 2007. The nation as a whole has grown jobs by 4.6 percent during that same time, while the Northeast region has posted growth of 3.8 percent.
  • Taking a broader look, while New Jersey now has net 1,400 more jobs than when the recession began, that remains far less than what the state needed to just keep up with population growth. In fact, New Jersey should have 268,700 more jobs in September 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 267,300, and needs to add 117,158 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 September 2019. For contrast, the state has gained less than half that over the past year, with nonfarm employment growing by just 53,400 from September 2015 to September 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 many low-paid jobs like home health aide), which have grown by 15.1 percent, and leisure and hospitality jobs (including retail and food service), which have grown by 5.1 percent. The only other New Jersey sectors that have grown since December 2007 are professional and business services (5.9 percent) and trade, transportation and utilities (0.5 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 10.4 percent); manufacturing (down 19.4 percent) and public-sector state and local government jobs (down 4.5 percent).